Following a pressure campaign from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), the California Fish & Wildlife are ripping six elderly chimps away from the troop that they have spent the last 25 years with.
Chimps, like humans, have complex emotions and form strong bonds with their troop. Ripping them apart is akin to removing a child from their family.
The chimps being taken are currently at the Wildlife WayStation sanctuary in Los Angeles. They are rescues from the National Institutes of Health rescues which were previously used for medical research.
“Most of the chimps being taken were NIH rescues by Dr. James Whitescarver. Putting them back into research is a violation of federal law,” Michael Robison of Small Primate Animal Rescue Tennesee (SPARTN) told Gateway Pundit. “Additionally, three that they took last year, that weren’t killed, are now kept in small solitary cages, separated from their family. Even the official post on the move this week states that their enclosure is not complete and they need funding. They are ripping apart a family and taking them to small cages.”
What is worse is that these chimps are elderly, which means a certain catastrophic outcome.
Three chimps that were previously in the Waystation’s care were taken by Project Chimps last year and killed because of the organization’s negligence.
“They’re not looking at these chimps as a family unit, who have the same emotional, mental, and physical needs as a human being. It’s like taking kids into foster care,” he explained. “They bounce these animals around over and over again and they never integrate.”
Robison previously explained to Gateway that animals this age have already lost their ability to be a matriarch or an alpha in any fashion. So, when they are moved into a new troop, they can’t stand up to the hazing from the alphas and often get killed or have failure to thrive. These specific chimps have been declawed and had their canines removed. This will place them in even further danger as they are unable to operate as normal chimps.
“They become depressed. They stop eating. They stop interacting. They just wither away,” Robison said of chimps that can’t integrate into new troops.
The move is also violating the Zoological Association of America and Association of Zoos and Aquariums standards of transport.
“They have no one coming from Chimps Northwest to acclimate the chimps and will not allow Waystation staff to accompany them. They do not have a vet for transport. They are using a third party, Project Chimps, for the move.”
These organizations do not allege abuse, mistreatment, or inadequate care at their current sanctuary. They claim that their concern is the Waystation is in a fire zone, but chimp advocates believe that this cruel move is really about money, research, and politics — as it has been in this location for many years. The incoming owners of the sanctuary plan to address the issue, but are not being given time to do so.
The sanctuary is being purchased by Sectre Holdings and SPARTN, an incredible non-profit working to save primates and prevent their exploitation. Robison is part of the executive leadership and animal care.
SPARTN is also planning a program to breed and reintegrate endangered species of primates back into the wild.
According to their website, they “have assembled a team of the top experts in Chimpanzee care, psychology, veterinary care and habitat development. We are creating a first of its kind environment of enrichment, interaction and education.”
“As a result we are able to help save these animals from the peril of being forcefully taken by organizations such as PETA, and provide safe, appropriate, and cutting edge care for all of these amazing Chimps who are in need,” the site continues.
Actress and well-known animal advocate Shannon Elizabeth took to Instagram on Wednesday calling for people to help save these chimps.
“Hey everyone-I need a favor! A good friend has been trying to purchase the Wildlife Waystation in Sylmar, California-with her goal being to refurbish the facility & save the maltreated chimpanzees that are still there. But they just got word that CA Fish & Wildlife are planning on moving 6 of the remaining chimps out of the Waystation & into a substandard facility in Washington before the sale closes!” Shannon wrote.
“This is a tight-knit family of chimps, some of whom can read, write & do American sign language! This will have devastating effects on them!! One of the chimps lived in a house for 15 years & is now being forced to live in a tiny cage. These endangered, loving, sentient beings deserve better & are counting on us to be their voice!”
Shannon also posted a link to a petition to stop the move and the contact information for Ed Pert at California Fish & Wildlife. She urged followers to email him at [email protected], and ask him to stop this.
The person behind the WayStation move, as well as the plight of Tonya Haddix and her chimps, which we reported on earlier this week, is a man named Steve Ross. He is on the board of PETA and the Humane Society — he is also the stud book holder for chimps in the United States.
While it may be too late to save the six that are about to be shot with tranquilizers in front of their troop and ripped away — never to be seen by them again — California Fish & Wildlife are scheduled to take nine more in August and it may be possible to save these.
SPARTN has sought the counsel of experts including National Geographic and Jane Goodall in their effort to provide the best care and outcome. They have been working hard to keep these rescued chimps together, in the only family they have known — and out of being used for research once again. They are up against these extremely well-funded organizations with government ties however, and it is an expensive fight.
People who wish to help can donate to SPARTN here.
The Gateway Pundit has reached out to Ed Pert for comment and will update this article if one is provided.