Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA)

Members of the Arizona State University (ASU) symphony perform for the chimpanzees.

The Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA) was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in 1970 with the primary goal of rescuing animals rejected by their previous owners and to improve the care and management of captive chimpanzees, using results from studies conducted at the facility.

PFA finally closed its doors in 2012 and the chimpanzees were relocated to the Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Bastrop, Texas.  PFA's Director and Co-Founder, Jo Fritz, (who passed away in April 2012) had the remarkable foresight to save as much as possible of the biomaterials arising from the long-term care of the chimpanzees.  She chose to donate all of these materials to CARTA at UC San Diego, with the one stipulation that the resources be made available to the widest possible range of scientists, specifically those who were interested in a comparative understanding of humans and chimpanzees in health and disease.  Some of the key resources included:

  • Skeletal Collection: 35 complete skeletons of chimpanzees who died of natural causes or were euthanized to ease terminal suffering
  • Library: 368 primatology books, some rare and out of print
  • Reprint Collection: approximately 6,850 reprints of research articles pertaining to the care and research of captive chimpanzees

CARTA personnel are working on an inventory of the specimens, including cataloging and scanning some collections, all of which now represent a major portion of the online Museum of Primatology (MOP).  In keeping with the wishes of Jo Fritz, appropriate components of the collection will first be made available to CARTA members interested in comparative understanding of humans and chimpanzees, and eventually to other qualified scientists.