Just in time for the Christmas season, we're proud to share pics of former San Antonio lab chimps who spent decades being poked and prodded — and who are now enjoying their golden years at Chimp Haven sanctuary in Louisiana.
It's been a long time coming for the government-owned chimps, who were officially retired by the National Institutes of Health in 2015, but who were still languishing in the Texas Biomedical Institute. But those chimps, along with a handful of the more than 100 still stuck in New Mexico, were relocated this past spring, according to Laura Bonar of Animal Protection of New Mexico, who is among the chimps' most vocal allies.
The chimps include Rosie, born in a lab in 1981 "and first used for research when she was 6 months old," according to the Animal Protection of New Mexico's Chimpanzee Sanctuary Fund site. Here's more about ol' Rosie:
"She has survived at least 100 chemical immobilizations and developed a sensitivity to the drug ketamine, suffering multiple complications from researchers’ continued use of ketamine to sedate her for testing. Rosie has had 15 liver biopsies with little to no pain relief provided. She is a hepatitis C carrier, has a history of cardiac arrhythmia, and was held at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute until 2016."
According to the Chimp Haven folks, "Rosie is a very sweet, people-oriented female" who nevertheless is sometimes impatient when her group mates get rambunctious. Listen, we get downright murderous if some jerk cuts us off on the freeway — we can totally understand a little irritation after enduring three decades' worth of being injected and infected.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
We feel bad that some other long-timers, like Ken, who was first used as a guinea-chimp 12 hours after he was born, didn't live long enough to experience Chimp Haven. But we're so glad to see Ken's peers (you can see more here) finally get to enjoy some greener pastures.