Thankfully, the practice of performing test research on chimpanzees is being phased out, but there are still a few surviving test subjects alive today that are looking for a place to live out their remaining days in peace. Luckily for them, a facility in North Georgia has answered the call and provided a 236-acre sanctuary where the chimps can explore indoor and outdoor areas while taking in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The facility is being managed by Project Chimps, and they expect to eventually house almost 200 chimps. The facility was actually used for a short time as a gorilla sanctuary, so it’s no stranger to housing primates. Currently, the sanctuary has 5 buildings that serve as habitats for the animals, with both indoor and outdoor play areas. Each building backs up to a 6-acre outdoor play area. While there is still an additional 200 acres of wooded area on the property, the chimps won’t have access to it for the foreseeable future. Experts believe the chimps will eventually be able to roam out into those areas once they become comfortable and more familiar with their new surroundings.
The facility will have a full-service vet clinic with a full-time veterinarian. There is also a kitchen on the property that was designed and renovated by celebrity chef Rachael Ray. The Kitchen has a smoothie bar and walk-in cooler, all of which can be seen by the chimps from windows looking out at the habitat.
The chimps will arrive at the facility in groups of around 10 at a time. The process of relocating them is a delicate one, as they’re already members of distinct social groups and they’ll need time to acclimate and become comfortable with the facility. Dropping all 200 chimps into the facility at once just wouldn’t make sense, and it wouldn’t be healthy for the animals.
While animal sanctuaries are nothing new, the fact that this one will be the last one needed to house chimps that were subjected to experimentation makes it a pretty special place for both the animals and the people who care about them.