The national chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, La., is making accommodations to care for 111 newly-retired government-owned chimps that were used in medical research over the years. To date, Chimp Haven has taken in 50 of the chimps from the New Iberia Research Center. Chimp Haven President Cathy Willis Spraetz said the remaining 61 will not be relocated to the sanctuary until September.
“We will delay the transport of those chimpanzees until the fall because the brutal summer can be really devastating, particularly for an elderly chimpanzee," Spraetz said.
Chimp Haven president Cathy Willis Spraetz has been on the job about two months.
Credit Kate Archer Kent
The introduction of new chimpanzees into the established groups at Chimp Haven can be tricky. There tends to be some infighting at first. Eight federally-owned former research chimps from New Iberia are learning to live in their new groups at the national sanctuary in Keithville, La. Chimp Haven is now home to 169 retired chimps.
The first wave of newly-retired federal research chimpanzees are arriving at the national sanctuary near Shreveport. Seven chimps arrive today. Chimp Haven will eventually take in all 111 chimps from the University of Louisiana Lafayette’s New Iberia Research Center. It no longer has a government contract for chimp research. Chimp Haven vice president Jennifer Whitaker said the chimps will stay in a quarantine area for at least two weeks as they make the transition into their retirement home.
A sanctuary for retired research chimpanzees in Keithville, La., is about to nearly double its population when it receives 113 chimps from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette New Iberia Research Center that no longer has a contract with the National Institutes of Health to conduct animal research. Chimp Haven president Linda Brent said her organization launched a $5 million fundraising campaign for the expansion. She said Chimp Haven’s staff is poised for growth.
The president of Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, La., says federal initiatives are moving ahead to retire large numbers of chimps from biomedical research. Linda Brent says Chimp Haven is in contact with the National Institutes of Health on news that the agency will transfer 10 research chimps to the Keithville sanctuary. She says many more could follow as the NIH send nearly one-fifth of its research chimps into retirement.