TLC for Chimps

In a laboratory facility in Louisiana, seven baby chimpanzees were born, intended for lives spent in biomedical and scientific research. Like so many who had gone before them, there was little hope for a happy future.

Hope came in 2013, when these seven baby chimps were granted freedom and released with their mothers to Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, in Keithville, Louisiana. Founded in 1995, Chimp Haven was established to provide humane care for chimpanzees previously used in research, and to better educate the public about the need to protect these endangered great apes.

Arden, Diane, Jimmy, Mason, Onyx, Quilla, and Riley now have a safe, loving home where they are cared for by dedicated professionals. They are free to interact with each other, and play in a natural environment where they enjoy sunshine, grass, trees, and toys. They receive expert veterinary care, healthy diets, quality enrichment, and the mother’s love that they deserve.

With a life expectancy of 60 years or longer, and individual annual care costs averaging $20,000, each of these seven chimps represents an extraordinary commitment for the sanctuary. The National Institutes for Health (NIH) provides only partial funding for the chimps’ care; by law, Chimp Haven must raise the balance needed.

To ensure that the chimps will always receive high quality standards of care, AAVS has generously pledged to fund the lifetime care of these seven special babies. This campaign could not be more representative of what AAVS strives to achieve: ending the use of animals in scientific research AND ensuring their safe retirement to sanctuaries.

As a compassionate advocate, we know that you share this same vision and goal, and we hope that you will contribute to this special cause to help make a difference.

Meet the Chimps


Arden continues to grow in confidence and has been venturing further and further away from her mom, Passion. She also likes to play ‘mom’ to a younger chimp, often giving rides on her back. She has reached maintenance levels for targeting, and responds accordingly to trainer requests.


With a large gap formed between her front teeth, Diane is now able to spit, which she previously could not do. She was taught by Candy, one of the adult aunties in her social group. Diane can now spit with amazing speed and accuracy when she wants to get your attention!


Initially low ranking, Jimmy was ostracized by his group. But over time, he has created strong bonds and friendships, and is now thriving. He loves playing with the other babies, and both he and Mason attempt to challenge alpha male Magnum, who playfully swats them away.


Mason is a healthy, growing boy who greatly enjoys juice, and loves playing with toys, especially his fire truck. Most at Chimp Haven think Mason is on track to one day be the alpha male.


Onyx is being injection trained, a goal for all of the chimps as it is less stressful for them than darting when it is time for their physicals. Onyx has progressed enough to allow her trainer, Rebekah, to touch her with a capped needle.


Sensitive Quilla cries when Onyx comes out of nowhere and playfully thumps her. In spite of that, Quilla still enjoys swinging on a firehose with Onyx. They even worked together to stretch out a blanket, wrap it around a crossbeam, and make their own artificial vine!


Riley is maturing every day so much so that he has been seen mating with all the females in his group. He was voted cutest chimp in Chimp Haven’s 2015 ‘Chimpie Awards.’ Riley readily participate in positive reinforcement training, and presents his lips and stomach when cued. Riley, Quilla, and Onyx love to play with ‘Grandpa’ Backus, an elderly male in the group, who loves to tickle their feet, laugh, and chase them.

“Because of AAVS, we are able to provide Arden, Diane, Jimmy, Mason, Onyx, Quilla, and Riley with expert care, each and every day. They will spend their lives enjoying freedom at Chimp Haven, in the company of other chimpanzees. You make our work possible, and you make the lives of those seven chimpanzees better each day. Thank you for believing in us.”

Cathy Willis Spraetz
President and CEO
Chimp Haven