We share with you the sad news of the death of our longtime friend Pepper, 42, who died last week of kidney failure at Fauna Foundation Sanctuary in Canada. Surrounded by her beloved family and friends, both human and chimpanzee, she comforted and was comforted by her loving community through her final hours.
In her 27 years in research, Pepper endured—in one lab alone—307 knockdowns, 36 punch liver biopsies, 1 open wedge liver biopsy, 6 cervical biopsies, 10 lymph node biopsies, and 4 bone marrow biopsies. Only after her rescue by Fauna Sanctuary was the anxiety that had become so much a part of her personality quelled with kindness and tempered by her natural sweetness, intelligence, loyalty, and strength.
Every day, Pepper would enjoy her hot tea time, taking her cup to an isolated place and quietly looking out over the open fields and forests. She loved to play with the hose and to sweep up little piles of trash very neatly into paper cups for the Fauna staff to throw out. Curious about how things are put together, she liked to take things apart—and then politely hand to staff the pieces of wood or screws that she’d removed.
During the summer, Pepper spent her days and early evenings outdoors, looking for things to pick from the chimps’ vegetable garden, discovering the edible treats that grow naturally, or sitting in the sun full face to feel its warmth or under the shade of a tree, delighting in the breeze. Many nights, she would take a pile of blankets to her favorite spot in the skywalk, make a beautiful and comfortable night nest and, serenaded by the frogs and crickets, sleep peacefully beneath the stars. She fully embraced the joy of her new life and cherished everyone with whom she shared it.
Pepper will forever know peace. All of us at NEAVS offer our deepest condolences to our
human and chimpanzee friends at Fauna on the loss of dear Pepper—a loss that
stings us all. She has left us all richer for knowing her and for sharing in
that far too short time she was given to be free to be no one other than
Remembering the lab cage which she and others endured, brings shivers up your spine. That disturbing memory of what life had been like for Pepper brings renewed
commitment to fulfill our promise. We will work until
every chimpanzee still held captive in labs will, like her, have their turn to feel safe and free.
send our love and gratitude to Fauna and to all sanctuary staff everywhere for
the care they give.
is honored to have provided lifetime support for Pepper and we will continue
that tradition in her memory. Pepper was the inspiration for NEAVS and Fauna to
join efforts to establish a lifetime care fund for Pepper and all the other
chimpanzees who endured and survived those lab cages. Members wishing to honor
Pepper with a memorial gift can do so through NEAVS’ sanctuary fund and Fauna Foundation’s
Lifetime Care Fund. Please mark your donation, In Memory of Pepper.