Alamogordo research chimpanzees have new life chimp sanctuary

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ALAMOGORDO N.M. (KRQE) – A new life has started for some of the chimpanzees used for research in New Mexico for decades.

After years of fighting, animal activists have been successful in moving two of the chimps to a sanctuary where they can lives out the rest of their lives in peace.

They were once used for research, but now some of the chimps that used to live at the Alamogordo Primate Facility will have a new life in Louisiana, at a chimpanzee sanctuary called Chimp Haven.

It was made possible by a $112,000 grant by the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Fund.

“New Mexico for a long time was the center of chimpanzee breeding for testing for the entire country,” said Laura Boner, Chief Program and Policy Officer for Animal Protection of New Mexico.

The group of 25 primates are a part of the nearly 600 who were bred and held captive at the facility for years where they were used for everything from vaccine and pesticide testing to experimental surgeries.

“There was a lot of I guess abuse and suffering that not just for chimps, but also for employees of those facilities,” said Bonar.

Animal Protection of New Mexico says that the animals are enjoying their new life. They say the chimps are more relaxed and able to enjoy the increased space and freedom in the sanctuary.

“There was a lot of sadness and tragedy in the past, and now to see some hope for the chimps that are still alive so that they can get to sanctuary is a wonderful feeling,” said Bonar.

However, the organization says its work is not done yet.

“There are over 100 chimps still on Holloman Air Force Base today. Many of them are considered elderly and they do have illnesses, but they all deserve the chance to reach sanctuary,” said Bonar.

The chimpanzee program at Holloman began in the 1950’s. The Air Force shipped 65 baby chimps to the area for testing prior to manned space flight.

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