About Us

The Sanctuary

Freedom for Great Apes is a nonprofit, 501c3 wildlife sanctuary dedicated to providing care for chimpanzees rescued from the pet and entertainment industries, as well as furthering the welfare for all captive great apes through education and outreach. We are located in rural Tumalo, Oregon in a quiet, peaceful setting not far from the beautiful Three Sisters Mountains.

The Offices and Main (human) House

The main house, which is located adjacent to the chimpanzee facilities, is equipped with a full kitchen, two bedrooms, two offices, one bathroom, and on-site laundry room. Besides housing our on-site caregiver, it also functions as our caregiver’s office and break room. The main room contains an education center filled with informative books, articles and magazines about nonhuman primates, ape-specific enrichment, wildlife conservation, and more.

Organic Garden and Greenhouse

Our greenhouse and organic garden allow us to grow fresh produce from spring through fall, including lettuce, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and many other leafy green vegetables that the chimpanzees love to eat. The garden is located adjacent to one of the chimpanzees’ outdoor habitats, so the chimpanzees often point to their favorite vegetables that they would like to eat and the caregivers gladly oblige. Nothing tastes better than when it’s homegrown!

Kitchen and Food Preparation

The chimpanzee Play House is equipped with a complete kitchen, including stainless steel counters, a three compartment sink, walk-in refrigerator and freezer, stove-top and microwave. There is a large window between the kitchen and the chimpanzee Play House where the chimps can watch volunteers and caregivers prepare food. The sanctuary receives generous weekly donations of fresh fruits and vegetables, when available, from local providers. The chimpanzees receive three meals a day of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and “primate biscuits” (which are thick biscuits that are fortified with vitamins, minerals, and protein needed for their diets).

Aerial Tunnels

Elevated tunnels connect all of our indoor and outdoor habitats, allowing the chimpanzees to easily shift from one enclosure to another, as well as explore and use the property to its fullest. Chimpanzees love to explore their vertical space just as much as they like to be on the ground. At Freedom for Great Apes, the aerial tunnels allow them to do just that. They have a spectacular view of the entire sanctuary and the surrounding mountains from the tunnels, and can often be seen making nests of blankets just like they would in a canopy of trees in the wild.

Outdoor Chimpanzee Habitats

The sanctuary has three large outdoor enclosures full of ropes to swing on and structures to climb, which the chimpanzees have access to every day, weather permitting.

The largest of these enclosures, the Big Outdoor, is nearly one acre in size. There the chimpanzees can climb a 30-foot, tri-level tower with fire hose cargo nets and telephone poles scaling the sides. An underground tunnel provides a cool retreat during hot summer days and colorful cement structures spread throughout the enclosure serve as great hiding places. The simulated termite mound always draws reverberating pant hoots from the excited chimpanzees when filled with peanut butter and ketchup. Besides serving as an excellent form of enrichment, it promotes natural chimpanzees behaviors by giving them the opportunity to make and use tools found in the enclosures (usually sticks but they get creative) to fish out the goodies, just like they would in the wild.

Indoor Chimpanzee Habitats

Our residents have access to over 3,300 square feet of climate-controlled indoor housing. All the indoor houses are connected by a series of tunnels that allow the chimpanzees the freedom to choose to play inside or outside. The largest of the houses is a two-story building with vaulted ceilings, Skylights, heated floors, dozens of fire hoses for climbing and elevated platforms for making nests. The chimps are often seen peering out the giant windows looking over at the Three Sisters Mountain range.