GFAS September 2020 Newsletter


Giving Day for Apes is October 13th!

GFAS is excited to be presenting the seventh annual Giving Day for Apes on October 13th. More than 30 ape sanctuaries and rescue centers from Africa, Asia and North America will be seeking donations and competing to win $58,000 in prizes! Read our featured article to learn more about how Giving Day for Apes began, what it’s all about, and why this year’s event is especially important. And visit to make a donation – early giving started on September 14th!

The Future is Equine: the new paradigm in horse rescue
By Jessica Harris, MS

Over the following months, the GFAS Equine Program will be featuring interviews and discussions with GFAS accredited groups who have embraced a shift to more open adoptions and removing barriers to their horses finding homes. You will hear what it has done for their horses and their capacity to rescue, straight from the horses’ mouth. This opportunity for growth, coupled with the determination and expertise of our equine groups, has the potential to change equine welfare for the better. We are excited to help you build capacity for care and help horses to a brighter future. Read the full article.

Featured Organizations

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

Pucho before and after

Accredited Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, the only wildlife center in Malawi, is home to a variety of animals including vervet monkeys, servals, baboons, tortoises, and even a python. While many of the animals are successfully returned to the wild (last year, 84 animals were released!), Lilongwe also provides sanctuary for those who need lifetime care.

One recent success story is that of little Pucho the serval cat, who arrived at the Centre in April right before it went into full lockdown due to the COVID crisis. Pucho was found alone in a maize field at just four weeks old. Serval cats are often hunted for their pelts or killed by farmers because they are perceived as “pests,” but fortunately for Pucho his rescuers brought him to Lilongwe. There, he has continued to grow and thrive during the rehab process, with staff contact kept to a minimum to keep him wild. If all goes well, he will be released in early 2021. Take a look at his before and after photos!

Lilongwe, like many sanctuaries and wildlife centers, shut its doors amidst the COVID pandemic, and suspended its visitor and international volunteer programs, but its care of its animals has not stopped. Congratulations to Lilongwe on its recent reaccreditation, and for the wonderful work that it does for animals like Pucho!

Visit to learn more, and read about Lilongwe’s blog post on its reaccreditation here.

Founder of GFAS Verified Little Bear Sanctuary is Hailed a GoFundMe Hero!

Christopher Vane, founder of GFAS Verified Little Bear Sanctuary in Punta Gorda, Florida, received the national spotlight and honor of “GoFundMe Hero” in August, a declaration of everyday people doing extraordinary work to make a difference. Little Bear Sanctuary provides a permanent home for farm animals that have been abandoned or can no longer be cared for by their owner. They are committed not only to providing a life-long sanctuary but also a vegan lifestyle and educating the public regarding pigs as pets. Little Bear Sanctuary’s resident animals are free to roam in their natural habitats of ponds, pines, and grassy pastures.

The Sanctuary is named after Chris’ mother Ursula, Latin for “little bear”. Little Bear Sanctuary has no resident bears but is home to 100 farmed animals of which 74 are pigs. Chris learned a great deal about pigs during his apprenticeship as a veterinarian technician particularly the specialized health care pigs require.

Chris has said that many people who acquire pigs as pets lack understanding of their needs so educating the public is one of his priorities. Chris has explained that pigs are the fourth-most intelligent animal and as intelligent as a four-year-old child. Funds raised from his GoFundMe Campaign will fund the conversion of a building at the sanctuary into a surgical suite, pharmacy, and parasitology lab.

For more information, please visit

Championing Chimps at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

When Wildlife Waystation in California shut down leaving hundreds of exotic and domestic animals hanging in the balance, NGO’s and sanctuaries stepped up to help. One of those stellar organizations was GFAS Accredited, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. The group agreed to take several chimpanzees and quickly completed a planned building expansion to house a group of three chimps: Willy B, Honey B, and Mave. The chimps, now affectionately referred to as “the Californians” made the journey to Washington to join seven chimpanzees currently living at the sanctuary.

Settling into sanctuary life hasn’t always been easy. Attempts at introducing the two groups didn’t work out as hoped and the new chimps were also fearful of the outdoors. It took some time before Willy B mustered the courage to venture outside. Mave and Honey B have yet to fully enter their outdoor courtyard and prefer to watch closely as Willy B traverses the unknown from the safety and comfort of their indoor enclosure. Day by day, progress is made slowly and the chimpanzees are allowed to explore at their own comfort level. Recently, Willy B has taken to enjoying a nap outside from time to time, something none of the other chimpanzees have ever done. To each their own.

Freedom of choice is what it’s all about. Like all true sanctuaries, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest operates according to each individual’s unique timetable for growth. Solid proof these folks are here to serve the chimpanzees and not the other way around. Be sure to follow as Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest prepares to welcome another group of chimpanzees from Wildlife Waystation in 2021!

To learn more about Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest:

GFAS Certifications and Renewals

Over the past month, we have certified two new organizations and re-certified four organizations. Congratulations to all these groups!

New Certifications

New Mexico Farm Sanctuary, New Mexico
Sunrise Equine Rescue, Washington


Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation, Florida
Horse Protection Association of Florida, Florida
Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, Malawi, Africa
Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc., Maryland