THE FAQ PAGE FROM THE CHIMERA RESCUE SOCIETY WEBSITE
Why the need for a sanctuary for chimeras?
In 2024, when it became clear that more chimeras were being created and kept than could be sustained, CRS came into being. Formerly, chimeras were kept privately, often in inappropriate or unsuitable conditions. Others were kept in small zoos (the AAZA, Association of Aquariums and Zoos of America, does not recognize chimeras as a legitimate species), and some were condemned to harsh lives in circuses or carnivals. Owing to the special nature of these creatures, they are complex to care for in a way that is safe, humane, and which honors their unique characteristics and instincts. CRS was founded to answer this need.
How many chimeras or creatures live at the sanctuary?
There are currently 21 chimeras in residence at CRS, since the birth of our newest resident, Sandy, in 2031. We do not refer to them as a collection or herd, unlike other organizations such as the ASPCA (which, while they have begun studying the situation of chimeras as they often intersect with the welfare of standard animals, has yet to recognize chimeras as “organic” species). While CRS is not accepting additional creatures at this time, due to the significant land and resources required to properly maintain chimeras, we have an active chimera-in-need program and will advocate for any chimera in distress that comes across our radar. Our CIN committee gets calls on this topic weekly, if not daily.
How do chimeras come to live at CRS?
Each of our resident chimeras has its own story to tell – and if you schedule a visit and tour, you’ll be convinced, like us, that that is exactly what many of them are trying to do!
Some chimera have been seized as a result of legal action against an abusive owner, or were confiscated by customs agent as infants being smuggled across the Canadian or Mexican border. A few have been discovered hidden in the cargo holds of cargo planes – nearly frozen and often starving.
In some cases, CRS volunteers have received calls from concerned neighbors about a suspected chimera being kept in a basement or private kennel. These situations require great sensitivity and education, as many people who acquire chimeras as “pets” are not intentionally cruel but do not understand the commitment of time, resources, and expertise required to properly care for these beings.
Each of our resident chimeras has their own page on this site: we invite you to scroll through and discover their stories. Many are heartbreaking, but at the same time testify to the resilience and will to live these amazing beings display.
Who founded CRS, and how?
The Corazon sisters, Elizabeth and Lorraine—Lizzie and Lolo as they are known to the CRS family and to the community—were the first to take in endangered, abused, or neglected chimeras at their Baby Doll Ranch in Sonoma County. It wasn’t long before Lizzie and Lolo realized they were in need of a sustainable organization
and that what they were doing was more than just a temporary desire to answer a need – it was a calling, and one that others responded to. The sisters were joined by a core group of dedicated volunteers, now numbering over 100, and recruited an operational board comprising community members, animal enthusiasts who saw
the need to extend the same kind of compassion and concern to chimera as is commonly assigned to standard animals, an outstanding veterinary practice, and several people who had retired from careers in high tech as well as nonprofit leadership.
The vision of the CRS board of directors is to develop a rescue and sanctuary that is sustainable in the long term, and which also serves the community by offering the unique experience of the chimera-human interaction. Additionally, CRS seeks to raise awareness about the plight of chimeras and their value to society above and beyond that of mere curiosities to be exploited.
How do I find out about becoming a CRS volunteer?
We are always recruiting new volunteers, and are delighted that you are expressing an interest! We depend on our dedicated and hardworking volunteers at all levels of our operation, from helping with fundraising events to community education programs to direct care of the chimeras.
We conduct Prospective Volunteer Orientation sessions once a month, on the second Saturday of the month, at the CRS location (see link to Google map and directions to Baby Doll Ranch). Each orientation lasts three hours and includes coffee and refreshments.
To volunteer as a chimera caregiver, you must be at least 18 years old and be in good health. We also require that our direct care volunteers pass a series of screening tests, and fill out a comprehensive list of documents attesting to and affirming to the desire to care for these animals for at least the three years we ask for as a commitment, since it takes considerable time and effort to properly train and supervise a chimera caregiver.
Should direct care not be of interest or appropriate to your situation, there are still many ways that you can be involved. We are always looking for people to help with our administrative and fundraising functions. Those with skills in managing and maintaining websites, graphic design, and/or marketing are always in high demand, as is anyone with a desire to help with our fundraising campaigns and events.
Below the FAQ, look for the big red button that says “Get Involved!”
What do chimeras eat?
This is the question we are asked most often during our tours at CRS and at our educational visits throughout the community. The answer is a little more complicated than it might appear. What a chimera eats, as well as how often it eats or how it eats, varies widely. There are carnivorous chimera as well as vegetarian or algae-eating chimera, and even two creatures who appear similar may require entirely different diets. Some of our residents require different nutrients at different times of year, and a few at different times of day. One of our residents, Lucy, does not eat in any standard sense at all.
Chimera feeding is one of the reasons we require and depend on our large group of volunteers. It’s a fascinating process and one that we are continually learning more about each year that we have the privilege of caring for these magnificent beings.
We also rely on a large network of suppliers for chimera fodder, from livestock feed dealers to local hunters, markets who donate their off-expiration perishable items, and our especially dedicated RKC or road-kill committee.
What special problems are there in caring for chimeras?
Human and chimera safety is always our first priority at CRS. Some of our residents are very large and strong, while others have a highly developed sense of fight or flight due to their unique constellation of natural and engineered traits. Still others are highly emotional creatures who develop extremely strong bonds with their caregivers and their enclosure mates.
Our enclosures are carefully designed for chimera comfort and their particular needs. Some of our residents are housed together while others are solitary. This is always based on what is appropriate for the individual. In the case of winged or flying chimeras, we have specially constructed aviary-type structures that allow for them to have adequate exercise on land and in the air. Due to our mild climate, many of our residents happily live out of doors throughout the year. Others are more comfortable in cave-like structures, and two require the use of refrigerated, ice-lined habitats. We have onsite generators and dedicated circuits to avoid any interruption of power to these enclosures in case of an emergency.
Have any of the chimeras ever escaped?
Since the founding of CRS we have not had any of our resident creatures escape. In the early days when Lizzie and Lolo were first learning the ropes, so to speak, of caring for these special-needs beings, there was one incident in which a ground-dwelling chimera was able to tunnel underneath its enclosure fence and was discovered raiding a neighbor ranch’s vegetable garden. No harm was done other than the uprooting of a couple of rows of carrots, and since then all enclosures are checked regularly to make sure there are no unscheduled “vacations.”
The reports in the Napa Valley Register in 2029 of a chimera seen flying away from CRS during a thunderstorm were later confirmed to be false and were due to a mistakenly identified private drone.
Are they dangerous?
It is certainly necessary to respect all chimera. Some are carnivorous and have well- developed hunting instincts; these creatures are cared for by an elite group of intensively trained volunteers who have been trained to do nothing to resemble prey so as not to stimulate the predatory response in their charges. With proper care and an understanding of each chimera’s nature and personality, we are able to safely interact with our residents.
Many of our chimeras have developed strong and lasting bonds with their human caregivers, and quite a few of them are highly appreciative of visitors – especially those who bring treats!
Are your chimeras available for adoption?
CRS does not offer adoption. One of the problems facing chimeras is that they tend to have uncertain provenance – a long list of owners, with varying degrees of expertise or ability or even interest in caring for them properly. Chimeras tend to be highly sensitive beings who often become very attached to their surroundings, so moving them is stressful for both the creature and their caregivers. Our core population of CRS residents are able to put down roots, so to speak – in one case, literally – and just relax and be chimeras without concern for being moved again.
There have been a couple of instances in which we have taken in a chimera on a temporary basis, but those have been under highly unusual circumstances. One, for example, Wendy, a giant sloth/tapir hybrid, was rescued by two of our volunteers from an unlicensed circus in Mississippi and was later reunited with her former enclosure mate with whom she had bonded before they were forcibly separated. Now she and her best friend, Peter Pan, an African elephant, are happily living out their days at an elephant sanctuary in Kansas.
If I have a chimera I can no longer care for, will CRS take it in?
Our Chimera In Need committee receives calls on a weekly basis from chimera owners who are looking for another alternative for their creature. Unfortunately, we must be mindful of the limits of our own space and resources and are unable to take in more chimeras at this time. We do however, always act as advocates for every chimera in need that we learn of, and have been able to find appropriate situations for many in carefully vetted ranch or farm settings, or in other large-scale sanctuaries – although CRS continues to be the only all-chimera sanctuary in the United States, and perhaps the world.
How is CRS funded?
We are supported entirely by private, corporate and foundation donations and grants.
If you would like to become a Chimera Champion, please find the big green DONATE button below.
For information on how you can leave a lasting legacy through planned giving, please click on the Tell Me More! Button at the left, below.
Our annual fundraiser, An Evening Of Magical Beasts, is coming up on October 25, so save the date! Please see our Events page for more information and to sign up for our invitation mailing list. This is a celebration you don’t want to miss!
Why have a sanctuary for these creatures?
Despite the size and strength of many chimeras, they are uniquely vulnerable creatures who are also for the most part highly intelligent and sensitive. You have only to spend time with some of our residents to appreciate their unique and complex personalities, and to see that they are as deserving of care and compassion as any ordinarily engendered creature.
Because chimeras have yet to be defined, despite a years-long campaign by chimera advocates and enlightened government representatives to do so, they remain without the protections that animals have such as penalties for cruelty or hoarding. At the time of this writing, chimeras are dependent entirely on the good will of those individuals who care about them and who see them as deserving of humane treatment.
What do chimeras have to offer humans?
We are sometimes asked how it makes sense to devote so much time, money and effort to what some call “Frankenstein” creatures. For those of us who are involved in chimera care and advocacy, the answer is self-evident: these beings, perhaps more than any other living entities on Earth, put us in touch with our sense of wonder. They can be amusing, startling, or awe-inspiring, but it can’t be denied that time spent in the presence of a chimera is exciting and brings one into focusing on the present moment like nothing else can.
As part of its mission, CRS is in the process of designing and implementing a number of community outreach programs. We work with at-risk youth – who often feel that they do not “fit in” to society, much like our chimera residents, and we are exploring the rich opportunities afforded by research into chimera-human interaction therapy. Make sure to check in with us often as we update our Programs page!
Chimeras in the media?
While CRS is extremely sensitive regarding potential exploitation of chimeras, we do appreciate and benefit from appropriate exposure in the media. Please see our “CRS in the News” page.
Jan M. Flynn’s stories have won First Place and Honorable Mentions in Writer’s Digest competitions, and appear in Midnight Circus, The Binnacle, Noyo River Review, and anthologies. Her novel excerpt, THE MOON RAN AFTER HER, won First Place at Mendocino Writers Conference. She’s represented by Helen Adams of Zimmermann Literary. Jan lives in Boise, Idaho, but don't draw any conclusions from that.