The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

10 Chimpanzees Are Freed From New Mexico Lab And Will Go To Save The Chimps

anonymous donor for the 25,000.00 to move them. I don't know who you are, but I thank you for your kind heart!

— Ten retirees will arrive here Wednesday to spend their golden years basking in the Florida sun.

But you won’t find them on the golf courses, at the bingo parlors or in line for early bird specials. In fact, you’ll probably never see them at all.

The 10 are chimpanzees rescued from a laboratory in New Mexico and will be “retiring” to the Save the Chimps facility west of Fort Pierce. Since the 150-acre facility opened in 2001, a steady stream of chimpanzees — including veterans of NASA tests and space flights as well as former pets and “entertainment” animals — have been retired to live on 12 man-made islands with platforms, swings and rope bridges for their enjoyment.

The “retirement home” on Header Canal Road west of Fort Pierce is closed to the public. Even the staff keeps direct contact with the chimps to a minimum.

“Most of these chimps have been involved with biomedical research,” said Triana Romero, development director at Save the Chimps, noting that the nonprofit took over the Coulston Foundation lab in New Mexico when it was closed in 2002 because of violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

“What these chimps endured is tragic. Dr. (Carole) Noon (founder of Save the Chimps) made a promise that they would never be exploited again. So they’re enjoying a real retirement. We ask nothing of them.”

This week’s trip will drop the number of chimps at the Coulston lab to 109 and bring the population in Fort Pierce to 168. Romero said two more trips are planned in January and February. The goal is to have all the chimps moved to Fort Pierce by early 2011.

“It’s an involved process,” Romero said, “because family groups of 20 to 30 members need to be formed before they’re moved so that when they arrive (in Fort Pierce) they’re a solid group.”

The 2,000-mile trip that started at 4:30 p.m. Monday takes about 40 hours, with two drivers who divide time behind the wheel and an on-board caregiver. They stop only for fuel.

“The goal is to get them here as quickly as possible,” Romero said, adding that all 10 chimps will have window seats.

“For many of them, this will be their first time out of that dungeon-like facility,” she said, “so they like to look out the windows at the passing countryside.”

The cost of preparing the chimps before the move, moving them and getting them acquainted with their new homes comes to $2,500 per animal, or $25,000 for each trailer full of chimps. An anonymous donor paid the expenses of the 10 chimps arriving Wednesday.

Save the Chimps also held its first fund-raising event recently, a Nov. 19 gala auction at the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa attended by 200 to 250 non-chimpanzee primates.

“People had a wonderful time,” Romero said, “and we raised more than $19,000; so we’ll absolutely have more events.”


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