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Five Chimpanzees Released from Laboratory Life

Hundreds are still waiting for help

This video shows one of the 21 elderly chimpanzees still suffering at New Iberia Research Center—a 44-year old chimpanzee named Simba. Simba was caught as a baby in the wild and spent his life languishing in laboratories. This video was taken at New Iberia in 2009 by an HSUS undercover investigator.

While reviewing chimpanzee news updates, we realized that some very familiar chimpanzees had finally received the retirement our supporters had been requesting. Following our 2009 undercover investigation at New Iberia Research Center, the National Institutes of Health was urged to send 26 elderly, wild-caught chimpanzees at the laboratory to a sanctuary.

We’re thrilled to report that five of these chimpanzees—Karen, Lady Bird, Penny, Terry, and Jerry—were released to the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Keithville, La., after spending decades in laboratories.

The chimpanzees’ retirement came none too soon for Jerry, who reached the sanctuary with masses in his mouth so large he had trouble eating and drinking. Thanks to the outstanding veterinary care at Chimp Haven, the masses have been removed and his quality of life has improved.

Sadly, Terry—who was 45 and in failing health—passed away soon after her arrival. We are grateful that she was able to spend her last days in a caring and safe environment, but her death highlights the urgent need to allow the remaining elderly chimpanzees to live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort at a sanctuary—before it's too late.

Take action to retire the 21 remaining elderly chimpanzees »

With support from generous donors, we’ve committed to donating $10,000 to Chimp Haven sanctuary to help offset the first year of care for Karen, Lady Bird, Penny and Jerry, but additional funds are needed. So—with your help—we’ve committed to donating even more. Up to $10,000 in donations made to our Chimps Deserve Better Fund before November 30th will go directly to Chimp Haven to help care for these four chimpanzees. Donate »

Can you help the rest?

There are hundreds more chimpanzees in the United States who need our help. Here are two more ways you can make a difference in the lives of these majestic animals:

  • We recently announced that The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing a decades-old rule that allows chimpanzees to be used for frivolous entertainment, invasive experiments, and as exotic pets, even though chimpanzees in the wild are protected as an endangered species. Please urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to give all chimpanzees—captive and wild—full protection under the Endangered Species Act. This would finally give captive chimpanzees protection from the suffering they endure, and would show that the United States is truly committed to the conservation of this important species. The Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the public comment period until January 30. Take action »

  • A federal bill that has been introduced with bipartisan support in the U.S. House and Senate would help hundreds of chimpanzees if passed. The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810/H.R. 1513) would phase out invasive experiments on chimpanzees, release government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuary, and end the breeding of chimpanzees for harmful research—all while saving taxpayers $300 million over the next decade. Please ask your legislators to co-sponsor this important legislation. Take action »
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