Last year, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) gained international notoriety when it abandoned more than 60 chimpanzees in Liberia to die after using them for decades in harmful research. At the time, the chimpanzees—who are completely dependent on humans for their survival—were in an extremely dire situation as their caretakers had been left with no resources to care for the chimpanzees and the chimps’ water systems were broken.
The caretakers sounded the alarm and, fortunately, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International were able to step in to provide emergency funding on the ground and spearhead a coalition of more than 37 organizations, including the Jane Goodall Institute, to help raise money for the chimpanzees and pressure NYBC to renew its support of the chimps and work with the coalition groups to provide long-term, high-quality sanctuary for the chimps. Dr. Goodall wrote a letter to NYBC and after no response joined in on social media to draw public attention to the plight of the chimps, urging NYBC to do right by them. Despite months of pressure from activists, NYBC has not yet stepped up to their responsibilities.
However, thanks to thousands of generous donors from all over the world, that hasn’t stopped improvements for the chimpanzees from moving forward. Here are just a few of the ways that these chimpanzees lives are being improved:
- The chimps are now being fed a nutritious diet on a daily basis (they were being fed only every other day under NYBC’s watch) and the water delivery systems for all of the islands have been fully repaired.
- A new birth control regimen is also now in place and a plan for the creation of essential staff positions and formal fulfillment of these positions is being finalized.
- Lastly, The HSUS has hired Dr. Jim Desmond, DVM and Jenny Desmond, a husband-wife team with wide-ranging expertise in the care, protection and conservation of great apes, to work in Liberia to help develop and carry out a long-term plan to provide the chimpanzees with the high-quality, lifetime care these chimpanzees deserve.
The Desmonds have already played a key role in implementing many positive changes to the chimpanzees’ care and will continue to make additional improvements in the coming months! Meanwhile, The HSUS, Jane Goodall and the coalition members will continue to pressure NYBC to keep their promise to provide the chimpanzees with lifetime care. It is unacceptable for NYBC to simply dump their responsibilities off on nonprofit groups with limited resources and one of the poorest countries in the world. Thanks for sticking up for the abandoned chimps!
You can learn more about the chimpanzees and get the latest updates here: www.facebook.com/abandonedchimps.