Steel yourselves, animal lovers. A few weeks ago, we told you that the National Institute of Health recommended that a majority of government-owned lab chimps be retired in the near future.
For 111 of these chimps, the largest group ever to be retired, this dream is now a reality. Over the next 12 to 15 months, lab chimps from across the country will be set free and will live out their days at Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana.
The process has already started, and it is pure magic. Below, a few chimps see the sky and feel the grass for the first time in their lives.
Chimp Haven is a place where chimps used for biomedical research or other purposes are given a permanent home with all of the necessary comforts of a natural, wild environment. The sanctuary is nestled on 200 acres of Louisiana forest, and provides research and education opportunities as well. With all of the new chimps expected to arrive, the sanctuary is in need of donations to help accommodate their new primate guests.
According to volunteers at Chimp Haven, the influx of new chimps will double the population at the sanctuary. These chimps, some of them nearly 50 years old, will slowly begin to warm to their natural tendencies -- hierarchy, grooming, exploring their new habitats. No more bars, no more dark laboratories. Just freedom. Just as nature intended.
For more information about plans to retire lab chimps and the plight of research chimps, visit HumaneSociety.org.