Monday, February 9, 2009

Fauna Donor Pieternellain Kleij in the news

Nell Kleij is helping the chimpanzees
By Christine Hosler

You’ve probably heard of Jane Goodall, or the Jane Goodall Institute, but now there is a cause supporting chimpanzees a little closer to home.
Established in 1997 by Gloria Grow and veterinarian Dr. Richard Alan, the Fauna Foundation is a non-profit organization that is a permanent home for abused animals.
This includes animals like llamas, pot-bellied pigs, geese, cattle, an ostrich named Sultan, and chimpanzees.
One of the primary focuses of the foundation is to provide a safe home for chimps rescued from research facilities where they have been abused.
Located in Quebec, Fauna was the first sanctuary to accept chimpanzees infected with HIV. Fauna is currently home to 13 chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees and humans are closely related; only 1.6 per cent of DNA differs between humans and chimps. Biologically, chimps are closer related to humans then gorillas. They are capable of intellectual performances, and in captivity they have even been taught American Sign Language (ALS), and are able to communicate with it. They use tools in their daily lives, and in captivity they enjoy many things that people do, like stuffed animals, blankets, crayons and colouring books, cleaning supplies, baby rattles, brushes and accessories.
And there is local involvement with these animals. Nell Kleij, a Baldwin Place resident, has been interested in chimps since her playtimes with a baby chimp when she was a child. And just recently she was given the opportunity to help. An old rerun of a commercial promoting the Fauna Foundation and their ‘adopt a chimp’ program on television inspired her in early December.
“I just had a light-bulb moment,” said Kleij. “I’d adopt one instead of (buying) stocking stuffers.”
And she did.
Announcing to her slightly disgruntled grandchildren that there would not be any stocking stuffers again this year (last year she donated the money to a charity), they soon became interested in the idea, and so Binky, an almost 20-year-old male chimpanzee, was adopted in their names.
At the same time Kleij also adopted another chimp, a soon to be 21-year-old female chimp named Petra. Both these chimpanzees where adopted for a one-time payment of $80, and they received a package that included photos of the two chimps, profiles, adoption certificates and information on the chimpanzees and the foundation.
Now Kleij has become more involved.
“I’m officially Aunty Nell to the chimpanzees,” laughs Kleij.
She makes blankets for the chimps, has gotten various local businesses and organizations to help her cause by donating fabrics for her to make blankets and toys for the animals, and she’s wrangled discount shipping prices for all the donations to get to the sanctuary.
She is also looking for donations, things that the sanctuary can give the chimps to keep them comfortable and happy. Items like beach buckets, brushes, stuffed animals, crayons and colouring books, rattles, plastic bowls and cups, cleaning implements, jello, juice, and fruit bowls. Monetary donations are also welcome, and tax receipts are available for donations over $10.
“It’s heartwarming to hear the happy stories,” said Kleij. “And to be able to help.”
Anyone wishing to learn more about the Fauna Foundation, chimpanzees, or how they can help can visit the foundations website at

Article ID# 1415869

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