With more than 250 chimpanzees, most of whom were used in biomedical research, now calling Chimp Haven home, it has officially become the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary.
This week, five new retirees arrived safely to Chimp Haven. The sanctuary has welcomed 23 new retirees so far this year, with more arrivals planned in the fall.
Chimpanzees were once widely used in medical research studies in an effort to develop vaccines for a number of infectious diseases including HIV and Hepatitis among others.
In 2013, the National Institutes of Health made a landmark decision to no longer support invasive research on chimpanzees, and the non-profit refuge Chimp Haven was designated as the national sanctuary for all government-owned chimpanzees.
President and CEO of Chimp Haven Rana Smith said, “It’s truly a historic time for chimpanzees. It is so incredibly rewarding to be able to provide such an incredible home for more than 250 chimpanzees, with more retirees arriving later this year. We are well underway with construction to expand the sanctuary to provide retirement for more than 100 more former research chimpanzees in the years ahead.”
Since its creation, Chimp Haven has successfully transferred and integrated hundreds of chimpanzees from research facilities into robust social groups and the stimulating environments available in sanctuary. Retiree success stories include the retirement of elderly individuals with pre-existing conditions, chimpanzees with diseases that require daily medication and care, and individuals who were never able to be successfully integrated socially with other chimpanzees prior to coming to Chimp Haven.
Renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall said, “There are still chimpanzees left in lab settings and so the campaign that Chimp Haven has initiated to bring the rest of them out is very, very important. Every single chimpanzee deserves to have at least a few years in a situation where their needs, their wants, their personalities and all the rest of it are taken into account. It’s very important.”
To learn more about Chimp Haven’s expansion efforts and how you can help welcome more former research chimpanzees to sanctuary, visit: www.chimphaven.org/expansion-campaign