The below is a statement from Rana Smith, President and CEO of Chimp Haven, regarding this morning’s decision from the National Institutes of Health to withhold all 44 chimpanzees who currently remain at the Alamogordo Primate Facility from transferring to retirement at Chimp Haven:
We are disappointed by the decision of the National Institutes of Health to withhold 44 chimpanzees from Alamogordo Primate Facility the chance to experience the benefits of sanctuary. This is disappointing given the stellar track record Chimp Haven has with smoothly and successfully transitioning hundreds of chimpanzees from research facilities to sanctuary retirement.
We respect the medical opinions of the veterinary panel and appreciate that this was likely not an easy recommendation because it is impossible to accurately predict chimpanzee health and longevity. At Chimp Haven, we’ve seen the health and behavior of many chimpanzees improve, including those who are geriatric, fragile and came to the sanctuary socially challenged. We firmly believe sanctuary life is the best place for chimpanzees.
Although today’s decision saddens us for the chimpanzees who may never have an opportunity for sanctuary retirement, we are looking forward to continuing to accept dozens of chimpanzees from other facilities into our newly-built habitats in the months to come.