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Abandoned chimpanzees receive grant for long-term care

The New York Blood Center withdrew all funding for more than 60 chimpanzees it used for decades in research


More than 60 chimpanzees abandoned in Liberia by the New York Blood Center are on a path to living at a suitable long-term sanctuary thanks to a new grant.

The Richardson Center for Global Engagement earmarked a wildlife grant for The Humane Society of the United States supporting efforts to work alongside the government of Liberia to ensure proper long-term care and well-being of the chimpanzees after the New York Blood Center forced them to suffer in captivity, endure painful research experiments and then left them to die of starvation and dehydration.

In addition to supporting efforts on the ground in Liberia, The HSUS and RGCE are collaborating to increase pressure on the NYBC to reinstate funding and live up to its responsibility and public promise to provide lifetime care of the animals. Gov. Bill Richardson, founder of RCGE, and Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, sent a joint letter to nearly 90 of the blood center’s most significant donors urging them to place pressure on NYBC by condemning its reprehensible actions and withdrawing funding until the blood center takes responsibility.

Pacelle said: “We are grateful to Gov. Richardson and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement for their dedication to this cause and collaboration with The Humane Society of the United States as we work with the government of Liberia on efforts to provide the high-quality care owed to these chimpanzees.”

Gov. Richardson said: “I'm glad our organizations – The Humane Society of the United States and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement – can come to together in our nation's capital and work to get something done. We look forward to working with the corporate donors to the Blood Center to hold the center accountable for abandoning these chimps. This is the launch of something that will be truly exciting!”


  • 1970’s: The NYBC collaborates with the Liberian government to create Vilab II, the chimpanzee research facility in Liberia, and began populating the lab with chimpanzees from the wild and local pet trade.
  • 1989 – 2003: During two civil wars in Liberia, nearly half of the chimpanzees at the laboratory die due to violence and the caretakers’ inability to reach them.
  • December 2005 – Alfred M. Prince, director of the Vilab II project for the NYBC, writes in the American Society of Primatologists Bulletin that the blood center “recognizes its responsibility to provide an endowment to fund the Sanctuary for the lifetime care of the chimpanzees.”
  • 2006: The NYBC retired the chimpanzees to six mangrove islands in Liberia, Africa.
  • March 2015: The NYBC abruptly cut off funding, abandoning the apes and leaving them to die of dehydration and starvation.
  • The HSUS, leading a coalition of concerned organizations, stepped in to provide emergency care for the chimpanzees.
  • A petition circulated and collected more than 200,000 signatures from the public to pressure the NYBC to reinstate funding for the lifetime care of the chimpanzees.
  • March 2015 – present: Donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars from around the world allowed the chimpanzees to prosper throughout the past year, despite the cruel abandonment by the NYBC.
  • July 2015: Dr. Jim Desmond and Jenny Desmond, sanctuary and wildlife care experts, arrived in Liberia to oversee chimpanzee care operations on the ground under the auspices of The HSUS and Humane Society International.
  • March 2016: Actresses Kate and Rooney Mara travel to Liberia to learn more about The HSUS’ efforts to save the chimpanzees.
  • March 2016: CitiGroup “urged all parties involved to come up with a sustainable solution to ensure that these chimpanzees get the care they need.”
  • Aug. 2016: The HSUS engaged in discussions with the NYBC, offering it extensive assistance to assure the safety and care of the animals. The NYBC steadfastly refused to take long-term responsibility for the chimpanzees it took from the wild, exploited for years and then left to die.
  • Sept. 2016: MetLife informed the NYBC it would not consider future financial support until a solution is found.
  • Sept. 2016: Xerox writes in a letter to The HSUS and RCGE that it has not supported the NYBC in more than a decade and that they find the situation “deplorable.”

Media Contacts:

The HSUS: Stephanie Twining: 301-258-1491; stwining@humanesociety.org
The RCGE: Maddy Mahony: 917-496-6614; maddy@billrichardson.com

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