Abstract # 76:

Scheduled for Friday, June 18, 2010 03:45 PM-04:00 PM: Session 16 (Medallion Ballroom B) Oral Presentation


A. Fultz and L. Brent
Chimp Haven, Inc., 13600 Chimpanzee Place, Keithville, LA 71047, USA

Since 2005, Chimp Haven has retired 144 chimpanzees from biomedical research facilities in the United States. The challenges of providing sanctuary to former research chimpanzees stem from efforts to coordinate with diverse groups and tailoring the care program to accommodate the backgrounds of the chimpanzees. Success in working with the government and research facilities to transfer both the chimpanzees and records varies greatly and depends on the individual institution's and staff cooperation. While research chimpanzees usually have social experience, many had restricted early rearing environments and significant time on research projects involving single- or small-group housing. If used in intensive research protocols, the chimpanzees may have difficulty adjusting to living in larger groups. Because of the lack of early stimulation the chimpanzees may also lack a natural curiosity about enrichment or new substrates or enclosures. Former research chimpanzees sometimes initially mistrust their care givers and are naïve about positive reinforcement training. This can lead to safety issues and a need for more intensive relationship building. Chimpanzees that have been in biomedical research for a long time may also display abnormal behaviors that are very resistant to treatment. Financial implications also exist, such as testing for infectious diseases, extensive safety equipment, and professional staff required to deal with chimpanzee behavioral issues. Despite the challenges, former research chimpanzees can successfully live in large complex groups in sanctuaries.