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.
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.