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Former research chimps rejoice at being set free for the first time

Although in 2015 the NIH announced an end to funding invasive chimpanzee research and would retire all government 'owned' chimpanzees, nearly 130 are waiting in labs to be released.

PAULA FROELICH: ‘The chimps are the latest group to arrive at Project Chimps from the University of Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center (NIRC), which housed the largest population of privately-owned chimpanzees in the United States… “Twenty former research chimpanzees just arrived from the lab (NIRC) in November,” Ali Crumpacker, executive director, Project Chimps, said. The chimps were kept under surveillance for a month before being released into their new habitat in December.

Upon going outside for the first time, the chimps looked around in awe — before setting off to climb on posts and explore the outside for the first time in their lives. Some were so scared they went back inside while the braver ones ventures ahead. Some even waved to the keepers through glass windows. In 2015, all chimps, both wild and captive, were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and in November of that year, the National Institute of Health announced an end to funding invasive chimpanzee research and would retire all government-owned chimpanzees.

Project Chimps, located on 236 acres of forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, was created to help house some of these primates… “We now have 79 chimpanzees in residence and our first phase — a refurbished former gorilla sanctuary — will be able to hold up to 100,” Crumpacker added. However, “nearly 130 (more chimpanzees) are waiting in the lab. We hope to bring 10-20 more in 2020. To bring the remaining chimps, we need to build the second phase of our sanctuary, with new chimp houses and companion outdoor habitats”…

While chimps are no longer subject to animal research, other primates are. On Friday, PETA released a report that was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, which showed shocking “reports of animal welfare failures that took place across a 22-month period from January 2018 to October 2019 at the laboratories of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the taxpayer-funded steward of medical and behavioral research of the United States.” Abused animals included primates and owl monkeys.’ SOURCE…

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