Meet - Henry Jimoh And Valentina Rose. They're among over 150 residents at chimp haven, just outside Shreveport. "All of these chimpanzees are unique, unique personalities." The vast majority of these chimpanzees are older... and came from laboratories, where they were used in biomedical research.Many are infected with hepatitis and HIV. "Chimps have used for many many decades for finding vaccines and curing human ailments what we do know now is that because of tech advances chimps are no longer necessary or needed in research" said Cathy Willis Spraetz, Chimp Haven President. As a result, there are numerous chimpanzees that need a safe place to retire. Chimp haven was founded in 1995 for this reason - and opened its doors in the early 2000's. Many chimpanzees had spent decades inside, in small cages. But here's it's a whole new world."Sometimes it's the first time in over 40 years they've been exposed to the grass and trees out in the habitats some adjust better than others, some when they come are afraid to put their feet on the grass and they might pop their feet back up and touch the grass real tentatively" said Amy Fultz, Chimp Haven Behaviorist. And as you can see here - there's room for chimps like Pierre to run and ... express them.
This deep moat stops Pierre from coming any closer. Chimpanzees can't swim because they have so much muscle mass and not enough body fat. They would sink in the water.But there are other, shallow water crossings here for them to play in."Real apprehensive we actually had to put a rock in an area where there's an inlet down there because the chimpanzees weren't crossing and the water was only 12 inches deep." And treats - of course, never get old. On this day it was greens... the chimpanzees are very pleased."A food bark is a chimpanzee vocalization when they see preferred foods." Watermelon is also a favorite snack. Caregivers say they're treats .. well deserved..
"Chimps have been used for many many decades for finding vaccines and curing human ailments what we do know now is that bc of tech advances chimps are no longer necessary or needed in research -- and quite frankly these decades of spending their lives in labs this was not a contribution that they willingly made to us as humans, they made it bc they were taken into captivity and it was taken from them and so it's really important for us to care about that and to remember what they've done and what they have contributed to society and it's only right for us to give back to them."
You can find more information on Chimp Haven at www.chimphaven.org
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.