AAP celebrates 40th anniversary with special cake
AAP saves almost 5,500 animals
The couple Okko and Riga Reussien established AAP Foundation on 14 April 1972. What started as caring for one lonely squirrel monkey in their own living room 40 years ago has grown into a professional, international rescue centre. Up until now, AAP has saved up to 5,500 primates and other exotic animals and has made sure they found a proper home. In celebration, the primates will be offered a special monkey cake on Friday 13 April at 11:00 a.m.
A lot has happened in 40 years of AAP. A very diverse range of animal species were saved: from chimpanzees to crocodiles, from tarantulas to raccoons and in 2009, even a lion. In his book ‘Een Apenleven Lang’ (2012) director David van Gennep – involved with AAP for 30 years himself – describes the highs and lows involved with the rescue and sheltering of exotic animals. AAP rescued many of these animals from appalling conditions, like chimpanzee Fiffy, who lived in a sealed cage in a Paris attic for 28 years.
Additionally, AAP fulfils an essential role in the rescue of Barbary macaques that are smuggled from Morocco to become ‘cuddly pets’. Not only has AAP saved many individual animals this way, but possibly even this special species, which is threatened with extinction. The battle is far from over: AAP continues to lobby for a structural way of aiding Barbary macaques and other exotic animals, as the number of ‘special pets’ that AAP gives shelter to continues to rise.
AAP is also an excellent home for retired laboratory primates. Time and time again the organisation proves that they are perfectly capable of bringing traumatised and solitary animals out of isolation and into social groups. Many animals come to AAP mentally or physically damaged, and helping them recover is a big challenge. Nevertheless we are almost always successful in introducing these animals into social groups and finding them a proper new home. Even when beforehand this was thought of as impossible.
David van Gennep: “I am incredibly proud of ALL employees and volunteers of AAP, who put their heart and soul into caring for these animals who need our help so desperately. Looking to the future, I can see a beautiful role in store for AAP: the rescue of animals will always go on, but what will really make me happy is if next to helping individual animals, we can also do something about the cause of their suffering – now that’s Sustainable Aid!”