While the Suncoast Primate “Sanctuary” in Palm Harbor, Florida, bills itself as a “safe haven,” its numerous animal welfare violations tell a different story.
Even though license revocations are extremely rare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture yanked the facility’s exhibitor’s license in 1999. It took nine years for the granddaughter of the original owners to get a permit to reopen the facility, previously called the Chimp Farm, under the current misleading name. Then in 2010, two chimpanzees at Suncoast escaped and one seriously injured a volunteer.
Footage and eyewitness accounts from Suncoast show lonely primates in small concrete cages with algae-covered toys and blankets. Without enrichment and socialization, primates can quickly become distressed, engaging in abnormal repetitive behavior. These conditions have landed Suncoast on PETA’s roadside zoo blacklist.
Orangutans are one of humans’ closest relatives, sharing 97% of our DNA—in fact, their name means “human of the forest” in Malay. They live in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, largely in the trees, where they build nests high in the canopy for sleeping. The concrete cells at Suncoast are inhumane, and imprisoning orangutans and other animals in this way is a form of speciesism—a human-supremacist worldview.
Please send polite comments to Debbie Cobb, Suncoast’s owner, at [email protected] to urge her send these primates to real, accredited sanctuaries, where they can finally get the care that they desperately need.
Please feel free to use our sample letter, but remember that using your own words is always more effective.