• Center for Great Apes Center for Great Apes


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Mission Statement

The Center for Great Apes' mission is to provide a permanent sanctuary in a safe and enriching environment for orangutans and chimpanzees in need of permanent lifetime care.

The Center maintains these animals in a safe and enriching habitat in accordance with state and federal regulations and in fact exceeds state requirements.

The Center also provides a resource center for students of primatology, anthropology, zoology, and other related subjects; as well as education programs for the public. These programs inform the community about these endangered primates and their need for conservation in the wild as well as their need for protection in captivity.


The Center for Great Apes, located in Wauchula, Florida, was founded in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Its primary purpose is to provide a permanent sanctuary in a safe and enriching environment for orangutans and chimpanzees in need of long-term life care ? specifically those who have been used in entertainment, kept as pets by private owners, or served as research subjects. The Center began as an effort to offer lifetime care for five young apes born at a private breeding facility before they were sold as pets or entertainers, and so far, has additionally taken in thirty-one apes with circus, entertainment, pet, and research backgrounds.

Currently, the Center houses forty-two apes ranging in ages from 1 - 46 years. Fourteen orangutans and twenty-eight chimpanzees have moved to their permanent sanctuary home in Wauchula.

The Center maintains these great apes in enriching environments and habitats, while providing them with proper nutrition and companionship with their own species. They live in large 35-foot tall outdoor habitats with lots of climbing apparatus, swings, and enrichment toys. They sleep in attached heated nighthouses strong enough to withstand Florida hurricanes. The sanctuary is located in South Central Florida on 100 wooded acres surrounded by orange groves.



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