My dream is that chimpanzees will no longer be used in lab research
Save the Chimps
In their natural homes in the forests and jungles of Africa, chimpanzees are never separated from their families and communities. They spend every day together exploring their surroundings, foraging for food, grooming and playing with one another, and making soft nests to sleep in at night. They are devoted to their families and share lifelong friendships. They laugh when they experience joy, console their peers when they are sad, and grieve when their loved ones die.
Chimpanzees used in scientific research are denied these relationships with friends and family and are deprived of the rich stimulation they would normally experience in the wild. Confined in sterile, lonely laboratory cages, these chimpanzees are subject to some of the most invasive experiments imaginable and endure decades of suffering.
The Lives of Chimpanzees in Laboratories
The use of chimpanzees in scientific and medical research began in the 1920s at Yale University in the laboratory of Robert M. Yerkes. The practice steadily grew in the Western world; by the 1950s the U.S. Air Force was subjecting chimpanzees to decompression chambers where they would lose consciousness. They were also subjected to electrical shock as punishment, spun in giant centrifuges, and exposed to G-forces. In the 1980s, the onset of the AIDS epidemic caused the number of chimpanzees used in medical research to reach unprecedented heights. A massive breeding effort was launched in 1986, and by the early 1990s thousands of chimps were confined to laboratories in the United States and around the world. Many of them were injected with the HIV and/or hepatitis viruses. As reports of the experiments spread, public demand for a ban quickly grew, and by the early 2000s most countries had stopped using chimpanzees in laboratory research. As of 2015, The United States of America and the small African country of Gabon hold the dubious distinction of being the only two countries left in the world still using chimpanzees for scientific research.
Chimpanzees used in medical and scientific experiments are usually caged alone. These highly intelligent animals are separated from their families and friends and rarely experience the company of other chimps. They live on cold floors behind steel bars, unable to make nests. Their bodies are injected with insecticides, chemicals, and all types of diseases. Their organs are altered and removed, their bones and muscles broken and torn, their glands manipulated and desensitized. They are placed in isolation chambers for months on end to induce depression and exposed to high levels of radiation to determine the effects of a nuclear fallout. During experiments, they are often deprived of the ability to move via restraint chairs and boards, no-slack tethering cords, squeeze-back cages, and nets.
In the event the chimpanzees are given anesthesia, they are shot with a tranquilizer dart gun through the bars of their cage–a procedure called a “knockdown” by laboratory assistants. The terror the chimps experience during knockdowns is so severe that they often defecate and urinate as the gun is pointed at them. Lab assistants have noted that the chimps never grow accustomed to knockdowns, even after succumbing to them for decades. One documented chimp was so terrified that he learned to rush to the front of the cage and offer his arm to the assistant as soon as he saw the tranquilizer gun.
Their bodies are injected with insecticides, chemicals, and all types of diseases
WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE
Unlike most laboratory animals which are used in a limited number of experiments and then killed, chimpanzees are used repeatedly over decades. The suffering they endure is not limited to the actual experiments. Over time, they experience mental and physical deterioration from the endless stress, confinement, boredom, and uncertainty of day-to-day laboratory life. The continual tediousness along with the physical and mental anguish of the experiments cause the chimpanzees to sink into depression, and many eventually suffer emotional breakdowns.
Some individual chimps have been used in research for over 50 years. The oldest known laboratory chimp is Wenka, a female who is 61 years old. She was born in on May 21, 1954. She was removed from her mother the day she was born and used in a vision experiment that lasted 17 months. Her mother later died of poisoning in a separate laboratory experiment and her father died in captivity. Wenka has been used in experiments studying alcoholism, oral contraception, the aging process, and cognitive ability. She has given birth four times, but all four of her children have been taken away shortly after birth to be used in other laboratory experiments. She now lives in a cage at Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta and is still being subjected to experimentation. According to a lab assistant, Wenka spends most of her time rocking in the back corner of her cage.
Jeannie was born in an American pharmaceutical laboratory on October 7, 1975. Throughout her childhood, she was used in various undocumented laboratory experiments in both public and private research facilities. In 1993, at 18 years of age, Jeannie was moved to New York University’s Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) where she was intentionally infected with the HIV virus. Over the next two years, she endured intensive studies and laboratory procedures including numerous vaginal washes and cervical biopsies where she was forcibly restrained as the tests were being administered. During this time, records show she developed anorexia—the refusal to eat—and often needed treatment for self-inflicted wounds. In 1995 she suffered a mental breakdown and was heavily medicated for the next two years. Despite the medication, lab records show that she often experienced traumatic anxiety episodes in which she would rip off her fingernails, scream loudly, and violently thrash out at any lab personnel who came near her. It was clear that years of physical and emotional trauma were seriously taking their toll on Jeannie. Still, LEMSIP continued to experiment on her.
When LEMSIP closed in 1998, Jeannie was rescued by the Fauna Foundation Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Quebec, Canada where caregivers gave her love, respect, and rehabilitation. Jeannie suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even though her overall psychological condition improved, she never fully recovered. She continued to have episodes of extreme anxiety and fear, but fewer and farther between. In the last nine years of her life, Jeannie became calmer, more content, playful, and social. For the first time, she was able to develop lasting friendships with other chimpanzees. On January 1, 2007, Jeanie died at 31 years of age.
Jeannie’s story is not unique. Numerous studies have shown that many chimpanzees still exhibit post-traumatic stress behavior long after they have been retired from experimentation. They suffer from loss of appetite, social withdrawal, and depression. In some cases, they continue to bite themselves, pull out their hair and pace incessantly as they had in the laboratories.
Goodbye, Dalton, our charming friend. We love you and promise to always remember you and smile
The following is a condensed version of Dalton’s obituary; he resided at the Save the Chimps Sanctuary.
Save the Chimps is saddened to announce that one of our most senior chimpanzees, Dalton, passed away unexpectedly on October 9, 2014 at the estimated age of 46 of suspected heart failure. After several lonely and traumatic decades as a biomedical research subject, Dalton was able to spend his final years in the company of other chimpanzees, enjoying life on a large island in Florida. Dalton was a consummate gentleman, and a father figure to “baby” Gabe. He is deeply missed by his human caregivers and chimpanzee family alike.
Dalton’s date and place of birth are not recorded, but laboratory records place his estimated year of birth as 1968. It is possible that he was born in a forest in Africa, but we will never know for sure. Dalton’s recorded history started in 1977, when he was used in a medical research project at the National Institute of Health.
Dalton was used in multiple invasive biomedical research procedures. The procedures were varied, involving everything from electro-ejaculation, administration of growth hormone, and injection of foreign substances into his lungs, to liver biopsies and frequent blood draws. In between research procedures, Dalton was used as a breeder, fathering 16 children.
Dalton moved to Save the Chimps’ Florida sanctuary in 2008, and embraced his new life on his island home. At last he was able to run, climb, forage, sunbathe, and enjoy the beauty of palm trees, blue skies, and green grass. Despite a bad knee that occasionally gave him some trouble, he never let his advancing years slow him down. He loved being outdoors with his chimpanzee family and was often the last to come in for meals, and the first to head back outside after he had eaten. He was always vivacious and full of life. One of his caregivers, Sarah, remembers, “Dalton was a spunky old guy who didn’t let younger males tell him what to do. His energy and presence will be missed by his chimp family and caregivers.”
Dalton is survived by his fellow members of Tanya’s Family, as well as 14 of his 16 biological children: Ariel, Katrina, Sandy, Sinbad, and Yamili of Save the Chimps; Cleopatra and Ruble of the Southwest National Primate Research Center; and Ann, Danny, Gidgette, Goliath, Jill, J.R., and Tessa of the Alamogordo Primate Facility.
Goodbye, Dalton, our charming friend. We love you and promise to always remember you and smile.
Research Facilities Still Experimenting on Chimps
Four publicly funded research facilities in the United States continue to conduct experiments on chimpanzees. These laboratories currently hold approximately 1,000 chimpanzees in captivity and include the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette New Iberia Research Center, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center near Austin, and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta. One facility, the Alamogordo Primate Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, currently houses about 160 retired chimpanzees, but no research takes place there. These five facilities hold more than 15,000 primates in captivity for medical research, including baboons, monkeys, macaques, marmosets, and chimpanzees. Researchers at Yerkes, Southwest, New Iberia, and Texas MD Anderson all perform invasive experiments on the chimpanzees and other primates subjecting them to deadly pathogens like ebola, dengue fever, and SARS, infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis, and different types of drugs including narcotics, hallucinogens, depressants, and cannabis.
These five facilities hold more than 15,000 primates in captivity for medical research, including baboons, monkeys, macaques, marmosets, and chimpanzees
In 2010, a public outcry from primate advocates, animal protection groups, celebrities, scientists, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson successfully kept the Alamogordo facility from transferring 186 older retired chimpanzees to the Southwest research facility for renewed experimentation. These chimps had survived a lifetime of horrific experimentation at the notorious Coulston Foundation—a laboratory that was closed down in 2002 because of an extensive history of animal abuse and cruelty.
Questionable Research Results
The validity of data collected from experiments on chimpanzees that is used to predict disease and illness in humans is now widely criticized. Despite the fact that they are our closest living relatives genetically, chimpanzees react quite differently to cancers, illnesses, and other human conditions. In 1995, after thousands of chimpanzees had been used in experiments to increase understanding of how the HIV virus infects the human body, the National Institute of Health (NIH) acknowledged that chimpanzees don’t react to the HIV virus in the same way and cannot even contract AIDS from the virus. In 2011 the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that the majority of current biomedical research in the United States using chimpanzees is neither necessary nor useful. The NIH in 2013 confirmed the IOM findings and stated that “research involving chimpanzees has rarely accelerated new discoveries or advancement of human health for infectious diseases.” Despite these conclusions, chimpanzees at U.S. laboratories are still being used for medical research.
Jo-Anne McArthur/Save the Chimps
Chimpanzees belong in the wild, not in a laboratory. Some chimps have been exploited in a lab for so long, however, that reintroduction into the wild is impossible. These chimps should be in a sanctuary where they can live out their remaining years in peace with other chimpanzees.
Since the 1990s, a massive worldwide shift in public sentiment has taken place concerning the morality of experimenting on chimpanzees. Most people now feel it is wrong to cruelly exploit our closest relatives. Nearly every country in the world has stopped performing tests on chimps. The United States is the only developed nation where such experimentation is still being practiced. However, American public opinion against it has become so strong that many advocates believe chimpanzee testing will end within the next 5-10 years.
Many advocates believe chimpanzee testing will end within the next 5-10 years
Dr. Jane Goodall
Few people are regarded throughout the world with such love and respect as Dr. Jane Goodall. Her pioneering work in the study of chimpanzee intelligence, emotion, culture, and family is unparalleled. Prior to her revolutionary work in Gombe National Park in Tanzania, humans had believed we were the only ones to make and use tools. When Jane discovered that chimpanzees were adept at making and using tools, science was rewritten. Her observations also revealed that similarities between humans and chimpanzees are more than just genetic. Like humans, chimpanzees possess complex emotions, heightened intelligence, and sophisticated family/social relationships. In her words, “It isn’t only human beings who have personality, who are capable of rational thought and emotions like joy and sorrow.” She observed in the chimpanzees things that had previously been regarded as exclusively “human” actions — things like pats on the back, hugs, kisses, and tickling. These discoveries, that chimpanzees and humans experience life in such similar ways, were the driving forces behind the successful global effort in the 1990s to end experimental testing on chimpanzees. Because of Dr. Jane Goodall, people around the world have realized that performing horrific, invasive research on chimpanzees is like performing it on ourselves.
The significance of Jane’s scientific discoveries is matched only by her tireless animal advocacy and environmental conservation efforts. At age 81, Jane travels about 300 days a year advocating for chimpanzees and environmental stewardship. The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), which she founded in 1977, is the world leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their African natural habitat through grassroot conservation programs. The JGI is also very vocal in calling for the release of all chimpanzees still held in captivity in American and Gabonese laboratories.
Roots & Shoots, the JGI global youth program, has been extremely successful in making young people around the world become positive forces of change for animals, people, and the environment. Jane also has served on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project since its founding in 1996. Nonhuman Rights Project is an American organization dedicated to achieving legal rights for nonhuman species including chimpanzees.
Few people are regarded throughout the world with such love and respect as Jane Goodall
Dr. Linda Koebner
Many other devoted activists and scientists have committed their lives to saving chimpanzees. Dr. Linda Koebner dedicated her entire career to helping research chimpanzees find freedom from laboratories. She is a pioneer in the chimpanzee sanctuary movement. In 1974, she engineered the first known retirement of a group of laboratory chimpanzees to a sanctuary. Nine chimpanzees were rescued from the notorious Laboratory of Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in New York and retired to a sanctuary location in Florida. All nine had experienced years of invasive hepatitis experiments at LEMSIP and had lived in small metal cages for decades. After their release at the sanctuary, Linda spent every day for the next four years with the chimps, helping them with the transition and documenting their transformation. She later became the first executive director of Chimp Haven Sanctuary, the 200-acre federally funded National Chimpanzee Sanctuary where more than 230 laboratory chimps have experienced freedom for the first time after years of confinement in laboratories.
The following video was taken 18 years after Linda had last seen the laboratory chimps she rescued from LEMSIP. This touching footage reveals the amazing memories chimpanzees possess (chimp memory is better developed than human memory!) as well as the tender love and gratitude the rescued chimps still feel for her after almost two decades.
Dr. Carole Noon
After seeing Jane Goodall speak at Florida Atlantic University in 1984, Carole Noon dedicated her life to helping chimpanzees. Dr. Noon founded Save the Chimps in southern Florida in 1997 after finding out the US Air Force was selling off all of their laboratory chimpanzees. These chimps had endured 40 years of space research and now were being cast aside. The Air Force rejected her bid to purchase and retire the chimpanzees and instead sent most of them to The Coulston Foundation, a biomedical research lab in New Mexico with a long history of abusing animals and violating the Animal Welfare Act. Dr. Noon sued the Air Force and settled out of court for custody of 21 chimps, a small fraction of the total number. In 2002, the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt, and Dr. Noon was able to rescue the remaining 266 chimps held at the lab. The Save the Chimps Sanctuary is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world and lovingly cares for nearly 300 retired lab chimps. Dr. Noon died of cancer on the morning of May 2, 2009 in her home located on the grounds of Save the Chimps Sanctuary in Florida. The sounds of her beloved chimpanzees starting their day rang through the air as she passed away.
In the space of 20 years, numerous primate sanctuaries have been founded in the United States and Canada. These sanctuaries offer a loving home for rescued primates formerly used in laboratory experimentation and the entertainment industry, as well as former pets. Six of these sanctuaries cater mainly to chimpanzees.
- Center for Great Apes
Founded in 1997 in Wauchula, Florida. 28 chimpanzees and 14 orangutans.
- Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
Founded in 2003 in Cle Elum, Washington. 7 chimpanzees.
- Chimp Haven
Founded in 2005 in Keithville, Louisiana. Approximately 200 Chimpanzees.
- Chimps, Inc.
Founded in 1995 in Bend, Oregon. 7 chimpanzees, 1 Canadian lynx, 1 Siberian lynx.
- Fauna Foundation
Founded in 1997 in Carignan, Quebec, Canada. 12 chimpanzees, 5 monkeys.
- Project Chimps
Founded in 2015 in Blue Ridge, Georgia. 9 chimpanzees (will eventually accommodate 220 chimps released from New Iberia Research Center)
- Save the Chimps
Founded in 1997 in Ft. Pierce, Florida. Approximately 275 chimpanzees.
New Legislation and Government Policies
The United States is the only developed country that still allows invasive experimentation on chimpanzees. However, exciting legislative and governmental policy developments over the last five years have given animal rights advocates reason to believe the end could possibly be near.
In January of 2011, The American National Institute of Health (NIH)–the arm of the federal government that issues federal funding for governmental medical studies– issued a public statement revealing it was setting up a team of experts through the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to provide an in-depth analysis to determine the level of need for chimpanzees in biomedical research. The IOM committee issued its findings in December 2011, saying they could not find any area of current biomedical research that requires the use of chimpanzees. The NIH immediately suspended all new grant applications for chimpanzee use in federally funded research. The significance of this policy change by the NIH cannot be overstated. A majority of all experimentation on chimpanzees is a result of funding from the NIH.
In September of 2012 the NIH announced that 110 NIH-owned chimpanzees living at New Iberia Primate Research Center (NIRC), which were scheduled to be transferred to the Southwest National Primate Research Foundation, were instead to be retired and moved to Chimp Haven. The NIH then announced in June of 2013 that, in accordance with the IOM findings of 2011, it will be significantly reducing the use of and funding for chimpanzees in biomedical research. All but 50 of NIH’s 360 remaining chimpanzees will be retired. In May of 2016, NIRC announced they will retire the 220 chimps at their facility to Project Chimps, a 236-acre sanctuary in northern Georgia. This was the first time that a privately funded institution agreed to release its entire colony.
In February of 2014, the world’s third largest pharmaceutical company, Merck, announced that it will no longer use chimpanzees in biomedical research. Merck cited the availability of alternatives to chimpanzees in research as the reason for its policy change. This action by such a large industry leader could very well have a ripple effect with other pharmaceutical companies.
In a landmark judicial decision, Judge Barbara Jaffe of the New York County Supreme Court in April 2015 made history by issuing a writ of habeas corpus for a nonhuman animal for the first time in American history. The case was brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) on behalf of Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees who are being used in research at Stony Brook University. NhRP is seeking to have Hercules and Leo moved to the Save the Chimps Sanctuary in Florida. Judge Jaffe’s act of issuing the writ implies that the two chimps may be considered legal persons under judicial law. Stony Brook University will now have to appear in court with valid legal reasoning for keeping Hercules and Leo. If the judge feels the reasoning provided by Stony Brook University isn’t lawful, they will be moved to the sanctuary.
In November of 2016, Argentine Judge María Alejandra Mauricio ordered that Cecilia, a chimpanzee who had spent years living alone in a concrete enclosure at the Mendoza Zoo, be moved to a chimp sanctuary to live out the rest of her life with other chimps in a natural setting. Judge Mauricio ruled that Cecilia was a living being subject to nonhuman rights. In her final verdict, she stated that nonhuman animals possess rights related to their animal essence, including the right to individual development and life in a natural habitat. Judge Mauricio’s ruling was the first known instance that a habeas corpus case for an animal resulted in the animal’s removal from an exploitive setting. This landmark judicial judgement, as well as the Nonhuman Rights Project case for Hercules and Leo, could pave the way for better treatment of chimps and other primates in labs and zoos around the world.
The Future of Chimps in Research
Even with all this progress, the effort to get chimps out of labs isn’t over. More than 700 publicly and privately owned chimpanzees are currently waiting to be retired from research facilities and placed in retirement sanctuaries. Moreover, caregivers at the sanctuaries are finding that retired chimps are in need of more extensive rehabilitation and specialized therapeutic care than previously thought. Because of governmental red-tape, the NIH estimates that it will take approximately 10 years to get all NIH-owned chimps retired into a chimp sanctuary. That is a long time to wait for many chimps who have spent their entire lives in research facilities and are in poor health. And if enduring a life of horrific invasive medical research wasn’t bad enough, Yerkes National Primate Research Center has begun the inhumane trend of “donating” retired laboratory chimps to foreign zoos.
There is no doubt that the United States is moving in the direction of ending the use of chimpanzees in research but for now they are still suffering in laboratories throughout the country. We need to remain vocal in demanding an end this practice and see it through to its completion. We also need to make sure every chimp is relocated to a retirement sanctuary and will receive proper long-term care and rehabilitation.
Jo-Anne McArthur/Save the Chimps
A concerted effort is currently underway to make laboratory research on chimpanzees in the United States a thing of the past. Stand up and speak on the behalf of these intelligent, sensitive animals who endure unthinkable suffering inside laboratory cages. When you voice your support for an end to these invasive experiments, you become an integral part of the movement to bring an end to this horrific practice. Here are some other ways you can help bring about change.
Support chimpanzee sanctuaries and laboratory chimpanzee advocacy organizations
Save the Chimps
Save the Chimps is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world and is located in Ft. Pierce, Florida. The humid subtropical climate is ideal for chimpanzees who would normally live in a similar climate in Africa. Save the Chimps provides a permanent home and lifetime care for 275 retired chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment, and the pet trade. Most of the chimpanzees at Save the Chimps live in large social families on one of twelve islands. Each island is three acres in size. Save the Chimp’s rescue of 266 chimpanzees from the Coulston Foundation in 2002 was the single largest rescue of chimpanzees in history.
The cost to care for one chimp is $16,000 per year. Save the Chimps provides exceptional medical care for all the retired chimpanzees. They are fed three daily meals of fresh fruits and vegetables and are provided a variety of activities, toys and treats that encourage natural behaviors. The Save the Chimps caregivers and staff devote themselves to making the chimps’ remaining years as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Save the Chimps is a non-profit organization and is funded entirely by financial donations. Please consider adopting a chimpanzee or giving a one-time gift. Click here to make a contribution.
Nonhuman Rights Project
The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) works to gain legal rights for chimpanzees and other animals through the American legal system. Their specific intention is to change the legal status of animals from “things” that lack any rights to “persons.” NhRP founder and president Stephen Wise is an esteemed professor of Law at Harvard University and has lectured about animal rights at many highly respected law schools and universities around the world. In early 2015, Mr. Wise gave a lecture at the Vancouver TED lecture series where he argued the case for chimpanzee legal rights. Within two days of being posted on the TED website, the lecture had received over 235,000 views.
A case brought to court by NhRP achieved a legal milestone for chimpanzee rights in April 2015. For the first time in history, a judge granted a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees, Leo and Hercules, being used in research at Stony Brook University. The writ requires Stony Brook to provide a legally sufficient reason for the detention of the two chimpanzees. This judicial action implicitly determined that, according to the court of law, Hercules and Leo are “persons” worthy of rights. No matter what the final determination of the case, this action will positively affect future U.S animal rights legal cases. NhRP is a non-profit organization funded by financial donations. They file only as many cases as they can afford. Click here to make a contribution.
For the first time in history, a judge granted a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees
Chimp Haven, the U.S. National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, provides a home for about 200 retired laboratory chimpanzees once housed in government owned laboratories. It is located within the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park in Keithville, Louisiana. Chimp Haven is surrounded by a lush forest and offers an environment that stimulates behaviors similar to those experienced in the wild.
Chimp Haven is very active in educating the public about chimpanzees and the need for conservation in the wild and protection in captivity. Chimp Haven runs several educational programs including Chimpanzee Discovery Days, Classrooms that Care, and other seasonal activities. The sanctuary also hosts veterinary, behavioral, animal care and organizational development internships throughout the year.
Though partially subsidized by the federal government, Chimp Haven is registered as a non-profit and is responsible for raising funds privately to cover the remainder of their operating costs. Click here to donate to Chimp Haven.
Educate friends, family and your community about how chimpanzees are exploited in scientific research and what can be done to change it
Tell your friends and family about the treatment of chimpanzees in laboratories. Show them some of the educational videos and documentaries on the subject. Join other animal activists in demanding an end to invasive chimpanzee research in the United States. The New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) Project R&R website has a comprehensive take action page which describes numerous ways you can help free chimpanzees from laboratories. It gives detailed information on how to request free outreach material, order campaign buttons, and sponsor newspaper print ads among other tactics.
Contact your state and federal congressional representatives and senators
Voice your support for the legal classification of chimpanzees and other primates as “persons” and not “things”. Urge your state and federal elected officials to end chimpanzee experimentation once and for all. Click here to find your US state congressman and senator. Click here to find your US federal congressman and senator.
Post information on facebook and other social media sites
Save the Chimps, the Nonhuman Rights Project, Chimp Haven and other chimpanzee advocacy organizations have Facebook and Twitter accounts. Follow their pages and share photos and posts with your friends and family. Keep them up-to-date on important chimpanzee advocacy efforts.
Jo-Anne McArthur/Save the Chimps
Communication between chimpanzees involves a complex system of vocalizations, gestures, body postures and facial expressions. Scientists have observed behavioral variations between chimpanzee communities so profound that they can be considered cultural differences.
Grooming is the single most important social activity for chimpanzees. The majority of a chimpanzee’s relaxation time during the course of a day is spent grooming friends and family members. Not only does grooming remove dirt, dead skin, and parasites, it also helps patch up disagreements, nourish friendships, and provide comfort in times of stress and sadness.
Chimpanzees are native to Africa, and along with bonobos, they are human beings’ closest living relatives. We share approximately 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees are one of the four “great apes”, along with gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans. All four species of great apes are endangered. In 1960, there were approximately one million chimpanzees in Africa; today there are as few as 170,000 remaining. Over the last 50 years, the overall great ape population has decreased by 50%. There are more human beings born each day than the entire worldwide population of great apes combined. Deforestation, hunting, and diseases introduced by humans are the three main sources of great ape population decline.
The United States is the only developed country in the world that continues to use chimpanzees for invasive experiments. Australia, Japan, New Zealand and all of the European Union member states have either banned or strictly limited the use of great apes in research. In 2011, American taxpayers spent between $20-25 million on experiments involving chimpanzees.
Explore the rich, emotional world of chimpanzees through these video clips and photographs and see how remarkable these intelligent animals are.
The Mother and Child Bond: The bond between chimpanzee mother and child is one of the strongest in nature. The mother is a teacher, protector, playmate, and provider to the child. Watch in this video how Fifi the chimpanzee, a close friend of Dr. Jane Goodall, lovingly takes care of her two sons, Faustino and Ferdinand.
Nesting: Amazingly, chimpanzees in the jungle make a new nest every night, never sleeping in the same nest twice. Watch this fascinating video that shows the art of chimpanzee nest-making.
Thank you, Dear Friends: Wounda was emaciated and near death when Dr. Rebeca Atencia and Dr. Jane Goodall found her. After months of loving care and rehabilitation, she was released to the Tchindzoulou Island Sanctuary to restart her life with her new family. Before heading into the jungle, she paused and gave a thank you/ farewell hug to the two women who had saved her life.
Chimpanzee Learning: For thousands of years, humans believed that we were the only species that used tools. In 1960, Jane Goodall shocked the scientific world by making the discovery that chimpanzees make and use their own tools. This captivating video shows how mother chimpanzees and other family members teach baby chimps how to use tools.
Finally, Freedom: Like prisoners emerging from a lifetime behind bars, this group of laboratory chimpanzees step onto grass and breathe fresh air for the first time in 30 years.
Learning to Love Again: Jeannie had spent 40 years in a biomedical research facility. Terry had been living alone at the Las Vegas Zoo for 18 years. After being relocated to Save the Chimps Sanctuary through the efforts of devoted animal rights activists, the two have become best friends.
Chimpanzee intelligence is well known; they are considered one of the smartest animals on the planet, but they really love to have fun, too! Watch these videos and listen to them laugh and express their happiness.
Learning to Play: Watch and listen to this adult male, Sinky, play and rough-house with Jack, a juvenile male at the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust, a chimpanzee sanctuary in Zambia.
Through social media, you can become friends and connect with other dedicated chimpanzee activists from around the world. Most chimpanzee advocacy organizations have social media pages that post news and important information on a daily basis. The links for the social media accounts of some of these groups are listed below in addition to links to their websites. Tell your friends, family, and communities about the terrible suffering these intelligent, sensitive creatures have endured in laboratories. Take Action!
The NEAVS Project R&R (Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S Labs), and Save the Chimps websites are great sources of information concerning the history of chimpanzee use in scientific research and the effort to bring this practice to an end. These sites are fantastic resources for those who want to educate and make a difference in their communities.
The following documentaries are great tools for anyone wanting to dive deeper into the world of chimpanzees. Some study chimpanzee behavior and intelligence. Others give an in-depth look at the use of chimpanzees in laboratory research. The remaining ones look at animal advocates currently working to bring an end to scientific experimentation on chimpanzees.