Complete the Monkey Sanctuary

Letter from President and Founder of 
The nonprofit organization raising funds complete their much-needed monkey sanctuary near Westfield, WI ( ). 

Chimpanzees are being retired to primate sanctuaries. Isn’t it time to retire monkeys in the same way?

Dear Humans,

Hi, I’m Amy Kerwin, President of the nonprofit organization, Primates Incorporated. My passion for the last 15 years has been to create an enriching indoor/outdoor sanctuary that will provide permanent homes to monkeys retiring from research facilities, pet ownerships “gone wrong”, and the entertainment industry. I formed Primates Incorporated in 2003 while working in a laboratory with 97 rhesus monkeys who were used in research. I grew very close to them over the course of five years and tried tirelessly to improve their welfare in their regulation-sized caging. For a rhesus monkey weighing 6.6 to 22 lbs., the minimum area is 4.3 square feet with a height of 2.5 feet per monkey.

Our organization is currently raising funds to complete the construction of the indoor/outdoor monkey sanctuary that can house up to 20 monkeys. Between networking and the help and donations of many awesome people over the years, we have made tremendous progress toward our goal of providing the monkeys a safe place to live out the rest of their lives.

I formed Primates Incorporated because I believed the least we could do is give back to the monkeys whenever possible by retiring them into enriching and spacious sanctuaries. Although there was not a retirement program in my laboratory, I learned other laboratories had retirement programs in place, and started connecting with them. Since I resigned in 2004, we have been raising funds to construct an enriching monkey sanctuary in WI—with the vision of establishing a monkey sanctuary in every state. 

There are thousands of monkeys in research labs and only nine monkey sanctuaries—all are near capacity. Many laboratories, like my former workplace, don’t have retirement programs for their monkeys. I try to connect researchers from the few laboratories that do have retirement programs in place with researchers who would like to form a retirement program, so as many monkeys as possible may be retired. 

The monkeys need your help!
We have retired three rhesus monkeys to the sanctuary! They are River, Mars, and Izzle!

We need to complete construction on their greenhouse domes, though by July 2018, and also construct their outdoor enclosures and complete construction on the walkways, etc, so we have a lot to do to help the monkeys.

Please help us help them. Any amount would be terrific!

I respect researchers who want to give back to their monkeys, and would like to see all research laboratories follow their lead…I enjoy the chances I get to communicate with them as 2-3 usually contact us every year because of a paper I wrote in 2006 entitled: Overcoming the Barriers to the Retirement of Old and New World Monkeys From Research Facilities. These researchers unfortunately can get turned down by existing sanctuaries because many of them are near capacity. Those monkeys who had a brief chance at retirement will likely not get another opportunity to retire.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the monkeys in the laboratories. I work every day to try to help them. In an effort to honor the monkeys I once knew, I re-posted this story on our blog page, which is a tribute to Sadie, a monkey I grew close to in the lab who sadly will never make it out.

To ensure sustainability  of the primate sanctuary, and quality care of the primates, we are employing a primatologist, animal care manager, part-time fundraiser, and animal care staff.  We also contract out for veterinary and maintenance services.  You can imagine operating costs are high, but the monkeys are getting the top-notch care they deserve and that is the main thing!

Our long-term goal is to provide retirement for up to 100 monkeys over the next 20 years by building additional indoor/outdoor sanctuary environments. We plan to serve as an innovative prototype for other states to establish sustainable and enriching primate sanctuaries so that no monkey will be turned away from retirement ever again. If we are fortunate enough to exceed our $300,000 goal, we will allocate funds to the following years’ operating and construction costs.

Primates Incorporated is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are grateful for donations of any size. Donations are tax-deductible as charitable contributions (please use your email confirmation from GoFundMe as proof of your donation).

If you donate $150 or more to the campaign, you can place a tribute and/or donor name on brick for our nature trail that was established in August 2015. Just message us with your tribute specifications.  

If you donate $1000 or more, your name will be placed on the monkey building!

The monkey inhabitants at the monkey sanctuary thank you for your support!


 See top
  • barb andrews 
    • $50 
    • 34 mos
  • Amelia Kirchoff 
    • $250 
    • 35 mos
  • scott storm 
    • $25 
    • 35 mos
  • Rebecca Benfield 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Deborah Johnson 
    • $25 
    • 38 mos
See all


Amy Kerwin 
Westfield, WI
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more