Brent, L. 2009. Long-term care of chimpanzees: the role of sanctuaries. American Journal of Primatology 71(S1), 106. (32nd Meeting of the American Society of Primatologists Scientific Program, Abstract #231)
Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have served in biomedical and behavioral research since the early 1900s and captive breeding programs to supply chimpanzees have been common since the 1960’s. The captive research population reached a peak of approximately 1600 chimpanzees in the mid-1990’s following aggressive breeding programs for an anticipated need for chimpanzees in HIV research. Prior to this time, primate sanctuaries served to care for animals coming from the pet and entertainment industry. But surplus research chimpanzees and the closing of several research programs led to an influx of hundreds of ex-research chimpanzees into sanctuaries. Private funding supported their care until passage of the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act of 2000, which mandated a public-private partnership to provide lifetime care for government owned or supported research chimpanzees. Chimp Haven operates the resulting National Chimpanzee Sanctuary System, and has retired over 150 research chimpanzees with great success. Facilities constructed especially for long-term care and wellbeing of chimpanzees allow the expression of species-typical behaviors, such as climbing trees, foraging, using tools, and normal social grouping patterns. In addition to welfare considerations, the transfer of chimpanzees to professionallyrun sanctuaries offers incredible cost-savings considering the long lifespan of the chimpanzees.