Chimp Haven to retire more chimpanzees from South Louisiana
Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, will soon be welcoming more than 100 retired research chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in Lafayette, LA—more than doubling the population of chimpanzees at the sanctuary. Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that all of their chimpanzees currently at the south Louisiana laboratory will be retired to Chimp Haven over the next 12-15 months.
The NIRC chimpanzees have been at the center of controversy since last September when the NIH announced that the chimpanzees, no longer eligible for research, would be sent to another laboratory in San Antonio, Texas rather than to Chimp Haven to retire. After several months of negotiations and cooperation among diverse organizations, a plan was adopted to expand Chimp Haven to be able to retire all of the NIRC chimpanzees to the sanctuary.
Chimp Haven President and Director Dr. Linda Brent says that this news is the result of good faith efforts on all sides to come to an agreement that, above all, is in the best interests of the chimpanzees. “We are pleased to be working closely with NIH to make it possible to bring the chimpanzees to Chimp Haven. We are also grateful to all of our supporters who have already made contributions to help retire these chimpanzees.”
Chimp Haven has to raise $5 million for construction and the lifetime care of the chimpanzees and has established a dedicated fund called The Road to Chimp Haven Campaign. For administrative reasons, the NIH is not able to provide construction funding, but will provide 75% of the cost to care for the chimpanzees. “We have a long way to go,” explains Brent, “but with the outpouring of generosity we have experienced so far, I am hopeful that the plight of these chimpanzees will move many people and organizations to give.”
Among those who have pledged major support are The New England Antivivisection Society, the first to step up with a pledge of $100,000. The Humane Society of the United States has pledged $500,000 to the campaign. The National Anti-Vivisection Society has continued its generous support of Chimp Haven with a grant of $25,000 for to provide housing and care for the chimpanzees. Also, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health today announced a fund raising campaign for construction for Chimp Haven to expand its facilities.
“This is an historic day for research chimpanzees in the United States,” says Brent. “We look forward to continued cooperation between the NIH, Chimp Haven and animal protection organizations to retire many more chimpanzees in the future.”
About Chimp Haven: Chimp Haven is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide a permanent retirement sanctuary for chimpanzees no longer used for biomedical research, entertainment, or as pets. Located 25 miles southwest of Shreveport, La. in the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park in Caddo Parish, Chimp Haven opened its doors to the first residents in April 2005. Chimp Haven serves as the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary and receives Federal funding which covers 75 percent of the cost to care for government retired research chimpanzees. All other funding for the operation of the facility, care of non-government chimpanzees and education programs is generated from private donations.