Sarah Baeckler Davis, president & CEO of Project Chimps

by | Dec 28, 2016

Sarah Baeckler Davis—a primatologist and lawyer who is president and CEO of Project Chimps, a relatively new chimpanzee sanctuary in Northern Georgia—discusses how, at eight years old, reading a book about Jane Goodall absolutely fascinated her, and she decided right then that she wanted to do the same kind of work. sarah-baeckler-davis1That objective, and the passion to realize it, never wavered, Davis explains, including attending Central Washington University, the only U.S. college where undergraduates could learn how to take care of captive chimps, and receive hands-on experience doing so. She went on to get a graduate degree in primatology at the same institution. Davis’ educational path continued, but not quite in the direction you might anticipate, if you’ve been closely following the saga so far—she went to law school! This move, she notes, was chiefly to make herself more effective as a chimp advocate, and an offshoot of participating in an undercover investigation of the chimp training industry. Davis also 15726425_1326505874061530_6281767842258709583_nrecalls working for five years at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, as its first executive director. She speaks about her subsequent stint leading the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), which she co-founded. In 2014, much as she initially felt reluctant to lead another chimp sanctuary, she did accept the president/CEO position at Project Chimps—about which she addresses converting the facility from a defunct gorilla sanctuary, how to bring in chimps, test them in pairs for compatibility to create a group that can peacefully coexist, and more. (

COMEDY CORNER: Kevin Nealon’s “Chimp Fear” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Harry Hmura’s “I Am, I Am” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote”


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