Nine lab chimps win lottery, move into new digs in Georgia

By on September 8, 2016 with 5 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

I am so pleased to share the latest news in a series of actions taken over the last seven years to help chimps in laboratories – nine chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana have safely arrived at the nation’s newest chimp sanctuary, Project Chimps. I want to congratulate Project Chimps on welcoming Buttercup, Charisse, Emma, Genesis, Gertrude, Gracie, Jennifer, Latricia, and Samira to its north Georgia facility.

Project Chimps worked with New Iberia (a facility The HSUS investigated in 2009 – an event that triggered a national reexamination of America’s responsibilities to chimps used in laboratories) on an agreement to transfer its entire population of 220 chimpanzees to lifetime sanctuary care. Today’s transport starts the process of moving those 220 chimps from laboratories to sanctuaries. The HSUS is extremely proud to be a founding financial supporter of Project Chimps, having provided the capital to purchase the Georgia property, which was originally created to be a gorilla sanctuary (and thus already had some of the needed infrastructure). The HSUS is also pleased to provide our expertise and assistance to the sanctuary, with our staff members serving on the board of directors and working with the accomplished professionals of the Project Chimps team to help them with this major endeavor.

Project Chimps welcomed Buttercup, Charisse, Emma, Genesis, Gertrude, Gracie, Jennifer, Latricia, and Samira (pictured above), to its north Georgia facility.

Project Chimps welcomed Buttercup, Charisse, Emma, Genesis, Gertrude, Gracie, Jennifer, Latricia, and Samira (pictured above), to its north Georgia facility. Photo by Project Chimps

The HSUS has led a decades-long fight to end the use of chimpanzees in laboratory research, with so much help from the Arcus Foundation and others, and helping this new sanctuary is part of our commitment to see the task to its logical conclusion. The end of the use of chimps in invasive experiments came after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted on a petition from The HSUS to declare captive chimpanzees as endangered. That action followed on the heels of the National Institutes of Health’s announcement that it would no longer fund invasive chimpanzee research and would instead retire all 400 or so government-owned and -supported chimpanzees.

With these enormous gains, helped along so meaningfully by NIH director Francis Collins, all of us at The HSUS felt strongly that we should play a role in securing sanctuary retirement for those chimpanzees remaining in laboratories – through government and private actions.

Save the Chimps and Chimp Haven are the two biggest and most established sanctuaries – caring for more than 400 chimps between them – but they alone cannot handle the influx of the animals from labs. An additional facility would help address that capacity problem. We hope and believe that Project Chimps will be a part of the answer to that dilemma, and a strong contributor to the long-term care needs of these deserving chimps.

The Project Chimps team got to meet the new residents while the chimps were still at New Iberia. They also learned a bit about each individual: Jennifer, Gracie, and Genesis are fun-loving and eager for attention while Emma and Samira are shy and prefer to hang back and observe; Charisse and Buttercup are identical twins who can only be differentiated by one freckle; Gertrude is very mischievous and playful; and Latricia is the steady leader of the group. It’ll be so exciting to see how they do once they are flourishing in their new home.

The sanctuary will rely primarily on donations from the public to care for their new residents and to make retirement a reality for many others—so this is just a start, and much more heavy lifting remains. But today, let’s celebrate Project Chimps’ exciting milestone and congratulate the sanctuary on welcoming its first residents! We feel confident they’ll be most excited about their new home.

Animal Research and Testing, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Laura Umphenour says:

    OMGOSH…I hope you guys film initial reactions. How wonderful for them❤

  2. Kerry G. Dowdell says:

    Such wonderful news! Please keep us in the loop with photos/videos of them thriving in their new home. Thank you to everyone who made this possible!

  3. Robert Goldman says:

    Ecstatic for these nine lucky chimps!!! Let’s free them all!! Happy to support HSUS!!
    P.S. We have to free all the chimps in labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. So many Bostonians and students from away would be appalled if they knew the suffering and isolation going on, under their noses, in the heart of New England.

  4. Jamie Davis says:

    Congratulations to President and CEO Sarah Baeckler Davis and her magnificent team on taking on the challenge and making it a reality and the start of the #roadtoretirement for all 220 of the NIRC chimpanzees.

  5. Henrietta Komras says:

    This is great news. Seeing chimps behind bars like this makes me wonder how did people think they could turn any non human animal into a slave? Is it patriarchy? The fact that domination of others is the main paradigm of the world based on might makes right? The end game of this is concentration camps where we put “others” whom we designate as inferior to us. “Humans” have done this to others and then gone beyond bars to extermination as we do with animals in slaughterhouses and as we did to the Native Americas, Jews, Armenians and more.
    Until we change the paradigm that says domination and conquest and subordination of others is the only way we will suffer until we finally destroy the earth and ourselves with it.
    Bob Dylan was correct when he sang “when will they ever learn?”

    I love the HSUS but we need to recognize that a change in consciousness is needed and the down fall of a patriarchal dominator model of society must go.

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