Many wonderful Chimpanzees are kept in laboratories for the majority of their lives. These wonderful animals have spent their lives contributing to human kind. When the time comes that compassion requires retirement, a new dilemma presents itself. The chimpanzees have never lived in their natural environment. They are unsure of what to do and how to behave. The great folks at Chimp Haven have come to the rescue. Watch this video and see how the animals are reconditioned with love and patience and reintroduced to the environment they were intended for.
There is a special bond between the human care takers at Chimp Haven and their chimpanzee charges. This organization saw the heartbreak and confusion in releasing chimpanzees into the wild for their retirement after a life in a laboratory.
By working patiently with the chimpanzees and teaching them to live (first together then outside) they seem to come to a renewed sense of life. The care takers know the chimpanzees well as many of them have worked together for years. The emotion that fills the hearts of the care taker and the chimpanzee is evident.
From above the high walls, care takers watch as the chimpanzees are released into an open natural area. The chimpanzees look up at the sky over and over as to question why they do not see bars or ceilings. Their eyes question how it is, they can see other chimpanzees and there is nothing between them. They slowly learn to interact. They must overcome their initial fear of the unknown. They learn to groom each other and to communicate. It is magical to see the chimpanzees do the simplest thing, like to drink from a stream for the first time. The feel of soil and grass under their feet is new and odd. They move slowly, not sure what to think of the environment. But in short order they seem to understand that this is how it is supposed to be!
They quickly adjust and with just a little help from their human friends they learn to interact. They understand that the sky is supposed to contain clouds instead of bars and they understand that is okay to move freely without the confines of a cage. How different the air must feel from the controlled climate of a laboratory.
We do not discount the contribution these wonderful animals have made to science and to mankind. But we are happy to see them being returned even if in their golden years. Because even a cage maintained with love is a cage. Even bondage by someone who adores you is still bondage.
Chimp haven has made all the difference and we sincerely hope there will be more organizations like them in the future!