Laboratory Chimps Get a New Lease on Life
Shortly after her birth, Moesha was taken away from her mother and sent to a laboratory for a life of medical testing.
Like the 265 other chimpanzees at the Coulston Foundation’s facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Moesha would be poked and prodded in the name of medical research. Moesha was one of the lucky ones: She survived. Others were not so fortunate. Three chimpanzees housed at the Coulston Foundation were literally cooked to death when their enclosures heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
When federal authorities found out about the facility’s mistreatment of these animals, it lost its funding and went bankrupt.
That’s when a team of animal welfare experts stepped in and changed these chimpanzees’ lives forever.
With the help of a $3.7 million grant, the Save the Chimps organization purchased the facility in 2002 and transformed it into the world’s largest sanctuary for chimpanzees. It would serve as temporary housing for the chimps until the organization could create a more permanent outdoor sanctuary in Florida.
But first, Moesha and the others — isolated for most of their lives — would have to learn how to live as family units. And that process would take nearly a decade of rehabilitation.