Board of Directors

Chimp Haven was formed by a diverse group of individuals who shared a passion to build a model chimpanzee sanctuary. Chimp Haven’s Board of Directors and Trustees represent the best available consortium of knowledge for the care and well-being of captive chimpanzees.

Stephen Ross, Ph.D., Chair

Director, Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo       With more than 20 years of experience in animal research and behavior, Dr. Ross brings a vast knowledge of great apes to Chimp Haven. He has been an advocate for animal welfare for many years, holding positions on several boards and committees, including the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan and AZA Animal Welfare Committee. Most recently, he served as a committee member on the Working Group for the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-supported Research which ultimately concluded that chimpanzees were no longer needed as subjects in bio-medical research. Since joining the Lincoln Park Zoo staff in 2000, Dr. Ross has been very influential in the great ape world as a behavior specialist. Some of his works include co-organizing “The Mind of the Chimpanzee” conference, contributing to the design of the award-winning Regenstein Center for African Apes and the institution of Project ChimpCare. He also has a wide array of published works that focus on polar bears, otters, gorillas and zoo visitors. However, his primary focus is improving the welfare of chimpanzees in a wide scope of conditions. Dr. Ross has been a Chimp Haven Board member for eight years and in January 2014 stepped into the role of Board Chair.

Katherine Leighty, Ph.D., Vice Chair

Research Manager, Disney’s Animal Kingdom                                                                                      Dr. Leighty has worked with chimpanzees and a variety of other primates for more than 15 years. She completed her Ph.D. in comparative psychology at the University of Georgia and is currently the Research Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Dr. Leighty has published a number of papers and presented at scientific meetings on primate cognition, behavior and welfare in addition to related work in other animals including elephants, tigers, and turtles.  Dr. Leighty is currently a member of American Zoo and Aquarium’s Research and Technology Committee and has been the VP for Communications of the International Primatological Society since 2001.

Matthew Allen, J.D., Treasurer

Attorney, Social Security Administration                                                                                              Mr. Allen received his law degree from Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Currently an attorney with the Social Security Administration in Shreveport, Matt’s practice areas include: family law, successions and probate, tax law, estate planning, Social Security and public benefits law, housing law, and elder law. He has been honored for his work by the Louisiana Legislature, the Governor of Louisiana and the Center for Civic Education. Matthew helped to administer two 100,000 dollar grants to help Hurricane Katrina evacuees. He is also a pianist and music leader.

Rufus Lemaire, Secretary

Vice President, Business Banking, Regions Bank, Shreveport, La.                                               Mr. Lemaire has over 35 years of financial institution experience and is a strategic partner with several of the areas large non-profit organizations, providing advice on operational and financial issues.  He manages a large portfolio of Regions Bank business banking clients in the Shreveport/Bossier area.  Mr. Lemaire is a graduate of The Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University and has a degree in economics from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  He previously worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as a department head and was the business loan coordinator for the City of Shreveport.

Mollie Bloomsmith, Ph.D.

Director, Environmental Enrichment Program, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University.                                                                                                                                                Dr. Bloomsmith is an experimental psychologist specializing in chimpanzee behavioral management. With 28 years of experience studying chimpanzees at the U.T.M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Bastrop, Texas),Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Atlanta, Ga.), and in zoos, Dr. Bloomsmith has published dozens of scientific articles on the topic of improving chimpanzee welfare. She teaches workshops in primate enrichment and training, supervises graduate students, is the Chair of the Primate Care Committee of the American Society of Primatologists, and is a research advisor to the AZA Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan. She is a founding board member of Chimp Haven.

Thomas Butler, D.V.M.

Retired Chairman of the Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine and Director of the chimpanzee colony at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research.                                      Dr. Butler is a nonhuman primate veterinarian with over 40 years experience with chimpanzees. Until he retired in 2002, he was the Chairman of the Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine which included a large colony of chimpanzees at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research. He worked with the Air Force chimpanzees at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. and designed numerous chimpanzee enclosures. Dr. Butler is ACLAM Board Certified in Laboratory Animal Medicine, and was selected as a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on the Long-Term Care of Chimpanzees. In addition, he is a former President of the Council on Accreditation, Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International. He is a founding board member of Chimp Haven.

Frans B. M. de Waal, Ph.D.

Director, Living Links Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and C. H. Candler Professor of Psychology, Emory University                                                                                            Dr. de Waal is a distinguished primatologist, with over 30 years experience working with chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates. He has received numerous international awards and organized many scientific conferences. In addition to his extensive scientific publication record, Dr. de Waal is the author of a number of books, including Our Inner Ape, Chimpanzee Politics, and Good Natured.

Margaret Landi, V.M.D.

Chief of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine and the Vice President of Global Laboratory Animal Sciences GlaxoSmith                                                                                                                   Dr. Landi obtained her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Diplomate in the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.  She has served on the ACLAM Board of Directors and the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research Council.  Dr. Landi has received a number of awards and recognitions for her contributions to laboratory animal science and animal welfare, including the Harry Roswell Award from the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare.  She is Chief of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine and the Vice President of Global Laboratory Animal Sciences at Glaxo Smith Kline.  Dr. Landi served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Expertise: veterinary medicine, international animal welfare laws

Charlton Havard Lyons, IV

Certified Financial Planner  Ameriprise Financial                                                                            Mr. Lyons is a Certified Financial Planner with Ameriprise Financial with more than 16 years of experience, and a practice covering 12 states.  He is a native of the Shreveport-Bossier City area, and has been heavily involved with the local non-profit and business community since he returned to the area in 2007.  In addition to his work with Chimp Haven, he currently serves as the President of the Ark-La-Tex chapter of the Financial Planning Association and as co-Treasurer of the Northwest Louisiana Susan G. Komen affiliate.  His work includes retirement and investment planning, and charitable giving strategies.

Jill Pruetz, Ph.D.

Walvoord Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Iowa State University                                               Dr. Pruetz has been working with both captive and wild chimpanzees since 1990 and has published widely on chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates. Dr. Pruetz has operated a field site at Fongoli, Senegal since 2001 and has discovered a number of new behaviors in the savanna chimpanzee population.  She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana. Dr. Pruetz is currently the Walvoord Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Iowa State University.

Martin L. Stephens, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate, Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health                                                                                                                       For over 25 years, Dr.  Stephens has been an advocate for finding alternatives to animal testing in research. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Chicago; and in his current role as senior research associate for the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), he directs the activities on evidence-based toxicology and serves as the CAAT liaison to the Human Toxicology Project and AltTox website. Prior to joining CAAT, he was the vice president of Animal Research Issues at The Humane Society of the United States for 26 years. He also served as a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Toxicity Testing which issued the report “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century” and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods for the National Institute on Environmental Health Science. Stephens has been honored with the John Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing Recognition Award and the Doerkamp-Zbinden Award for his contribution to animal protection and alternative methods.

Robert A. Whitney, D.V.M.

Former Deputy Surgeon General and Director of NIH, NCRR                                                                A career United States Public Health Service officer, he has held positions as Deputy Surgeon General, Acting Surgeon General and Director of NIH National Center for Research Resources. Dr. Whitney is a diplomat of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and served as chief veterinary officer of the Public Health Service from 1985-1989. He has received a number of awards including the American Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Award. Dr. Whitney served as President of Earthspan, a nonprofit organization.

Ex Officio Members

Cathy Willis Spraetz, President & CEO


Linda Brent, Ph.D.

Candy Peavy, P.T.

Erna Toback, Ph.D.