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October 24, 2012

Meet Teresa, a Chimpanzee Used in Research

Teresa gave birth to a surprise baby after a life in research

  • chimp teresa

    Teresa is shown here enjoying sanctuary life with her baby, Tracy. Chimp Haven

Update: Sadly, on January 7, 2011, at the age of 46, Teresa passed away. Thanks to Chimp Haven, Teresa was able to spend her final years in retirement surrounded by her loving chimpanzee family. To learn more about Teresa or make a donation in her honor, click here.

The story of Teresa and her daughter, Tracy, is an interesting one that played out like a "whodunit" in the news. In early 2007, much to the surprise of her caretakers at Chimp Haven—the national sanctuary for chimpanzees formerly used in research—Teresa one day emerged from the facility's woods carrying a newborn chimpanzee, later named Tracy.

This was a surprise not only because Teresa was approximately 40 years old at the time—a pretty advanced age for a chimpanzee mom—but because all of the males at Chimp Haven are sterilized before they arrive. It became apparent that one of these sterilization procedures was ineffective, but whose?

After DNA testing of all of the chimpanzees in Teresa's social group, Chimp Haven found out that the father was Conan—a younger male. His vasectomy was corrected and, so far, so good! There have been no new births since then. Baby Tracy continues to do well; she will have a much different upbringing than the other chimpanzees she shares her life with—many of whom spent decades in laboratories before arriving at the sanctuary.

 View all "Meet the Chimps" profiles »

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