What happy news for 110 former federally owned research chimps! After a year and a half of planning, these chimps–ranging in age from one to 50–have been transported from New Iberia Research Center in a southern Louisiana, to the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Chimps Haven.
The long road to their new sanctuary began in 2012 when the National Institutes of Health determined thatchimps residing in the laboratory were to be retired. The initial arrangement was to being 10 chimps to Chimp Haven and relocate the other 100 to a lab in Texas. Clearly this was not any sort of win for the remaining chimpanzees, so a number of animal welfare organizations set to work to gain freedom for the 100 other chimps.
Under the provisions of the CHIMP Act (reauthorized in 2013), these 100 chimps were not being allowed what was rightfully there’s.
CEO and President of Chimp Haven, Cathy Willis Spraetz states that at that point, “It was necessary to devise a plan that would offer a safe and caring atmosphere, one where these chimpanzees can live the rest of their lives in large social groups and determine on their own how they will spend their days.”
Garnering support of other organizations who believed Chimp Haven would be the only proper facility to meet these needs, NIH reconsidered leading to the release of all 110 chimps to Chimp Haven.
According to the Chimp Haven statement, the sanctuary that has been built to accommodate all these former lab chimps was made possible thanks to the generous contributions of organizations such as: “The New England Antivivisection Society, The Humane Society of the United States, The National Antivivisection Society and The American Antivivisection Society made significant donations.”
In addition, ”Animal activists Bob Barker and Anita Hirsh, both made $1 million contributions toward construction of the play areas and bedrooms.”
We could not be more thrilled to see all these chimps finally gain the happy life they deserve to live in a social and loving community with one another for the rest of their days. To help celebrate this amazing victory, Chimp Haven has supplied OGP with some photos of the new retirees, check out these happy little faces!