Recipients of the 10th Annual 2018 Carole Noon Awards for Sanctuary Excellence Announced

July 2, 2018 – (Washington, DC) The Board of Directors of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) today announced the recipients of the 2018 Carole Noon Awards for Sanctuary Excellence: Dr. Karmele Sanchez, Program Director of Yayasan International Animal Rescue in Indonesia and Patti Ragan, Founder, Center for Great Apes in Florida, USA. GFAS is the global leader in accreditation of animal sanctuaries and rescue centers and is popularly considered the “gold standard” when assessing operational excellence and humane care at facilities across the globe.

“This year’s Noon awardees are both extraordinary leaders, doing remarkable work, with indefatigable determination, who have had significant achievements in their careers,” noted Allan Kornberg, Executive Director of GFAS. “GFAS prides itself on its global reach and the wide variety of species for which our member sanctuaries provide humane refuge, and the wild animal facilities honored this year are outstanding examples of compassionate care—Dr. Noon would certainly be proud.”

Sue Leary, GFAS Board Member, presenting Award to Patti Ragan

At the Center for Great Apes, the only accredited sanctuary for orangutans in North America, apes who were former “pets” and performing animals are cared for with compassion and provided for their specialized needs.  As the plight of the wild orangutan becomes more desperate due to poaching and deforestation in Borneo, individual animals suffer injury and death in alarming numbers — the Yayasan International Animal Rescue Indonesia not only works to protect orangutans, but also rescue, rehabilitate and release slow lorises, macaques and other imperiled species.

Ms.  Ragan said of the Noon Award honor, “So much has happened in the past 9 years that Carole would have celebrated (chimpanzees finally being classified as Endangered Species in captivity… chimps finally coming out of invasive research… exploitation of great apes ending in entertainment venues & the exotic pet trade in North America….and new sanctuaries opening to care for these primates).  I am grateful for GFAS’s recognition of our work here at the Center for Great Apes.” Dr. Sanchez added, “It’s a great honour and an authentic privilege to receive this award. This award is for us a new inspiration to continue working on protecting animals in need. “This award is dedicated to the whole team of IAR in Indonesia, a very dedicated team who has made it possible for us to win this award. It’s only thanks to this team that IAR can be so proud to get this international recognition.”

Jackie Bennett, GFAS Program Director, Africa and Asia, presenting Award to Karmele Sachez

The Carole Noon Awards are named after the late Dr. Carole Noon, founder of Save the Chimps in Florida, USA, where she and her team rescued and cared for hundreds of chimpanzees rescued and retired from biomedical research, including those used in government testing protocols.

Editor’s Notes:

GFAS is a global leader in accreditation programs for animal sanctuaries, assessing facilities against a robust set of operational and animal care standards, including species-specific standards for elephants, great apes, big cats, horses, farm animals, and others.

Dr. Karmele Sanchez, Program Director, Yayasan International Animal Rescue Indonesia, is a veterinarian and oversees YIARI’s orangutan center on Borneo and the Primate Rehabilitation Center in Ciapus near Bogor in West Java. Both are GFAS accredited. The Bogor facility was built with the objective of protecting species that were not often considered by other conservation organizations; it is the world’s largest rescue center for slow lorises and the biggest rescue and rehabilitation center for long- and pig-tailed macaques on Java. YIARI established the first systematic reintroduction project for Indonesian slow lorises. Its Center for Rescue and Conservation of Orangutans operates near Ketapang, West Kalimantan, one of the most heavily deforested areas of Borneo. YIARI established the first ever Human-Orangutan Conflict Response Team (HOCRT) in Kalimantan. The team is ready at all times to respond to HOC situations in West Kalimantan reported by local people, through mitigation of conflict, translocation or rescue of orangutans, and is responsible for investigating, assessing, enumerating, and mitigating any reported instances of HOC. More information at

Patti Ragan, the Founder of the Center for Great Apes, is dedicated to the health and welfare of chimpanzees and orangutans who unwillingly served the entertainment and biomedical research industries. Patti and her staff ensure that the apes get excellent medical care and lots of enrichment. The enclosures are unique and are all connected through the forested sanctuary with over a mile and a half of aerial trailways that the apes can roam through. With the unique system of trailways, the apes have more opportunities for making choices on their environment.    Patti, her board, and volunteers work hard to ensure that the necessary funding is in place to care for the apes.  One of the many things that makes the Center for Great Apes special is Patti and her staff’s relationship and commitment to Knuckles. Knuckles is a chimpanzee with cerebral palsy, needing around the clock special care. The Center is currently focused on securing funding so that new habitats can be built to help give sanctuary to more orangutans and chimpanzees in need of care. More information at

Download press release here.

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