The world lost a true legend and hero yesterday – Carole Noon. She was the founder and President of Save the Chimps. Hundreds of chimps, including Annie’s son and Foxie’s daughter, are free today because of her, and I can’t think of a better tribute.
I am happy to say that I worked with her a bunch over the last 8 years or so, and I learned so much from her. I remember walking into the halls of the former Coulston Foundation right after she took it over. Words can not even begin to describe how intense that place felt – it was paralyzing. Yet Carole took on the challenge with ease and transformed that dungeon into a joyful, wonderful sanctuary. Years later, she took in several chimps near and dear to my heart who desperately needed rescue.
Carole had a feisty spirit and let no one get in her way. I won’t lie – when she was my supervisor I sometimes feared her phone calls. She didn’t hesitate to tell me exactly what she thought and it wasn’t always pretty! But working with her and learning from her was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. She taught me to confidently carry forth in any chimp situation. I will always be grateful to her for that “chimp confidence.”
Today, I’m very sad about losing Carole. But that feisty independent spirit will always be with me. May she continue to inspire us to keep doing more for chimpanzees everywhere. She left a truly amazing legacy.