Tears, apples and travel blankets: Rescued chimps leave troubled California refuge for new home in Seattle
Lilah N. Hall-Taylor and her infant son are pictured in sanctuary at Tarra, Calif., with the baby’s parents — including one recently rescued at Tarra and an infant she was taking care of in the Tarra home. She is now raising her son in Seattle. (Photo: Tarra Conservation Societies Facebook page)
After years of suffering from the stress of being relocated from one prison to another, three chimps from the Tarra Prison Research Facility were found safe and well in Seattle last week. Rescued and reunited with their mothers and their baby son, three adult chimps with complex and long-term medical needs from the cramped Tarra facility were safely delivered in an emergency delivery room.
“We got three healthy chimps,” said Terri Pritchet, director for the Seattle Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where the chimp mother is now living. “So, our little Tarra experiment is really starting to pay off.”
Pritchet was the lead investigator on the successful search and rescue mission and says she is “100 percent sure” that the chimps are safe.
Chimpanzees have been living at the Tarra Research Facility for more than 20 years. In December, the facility lost three animals to an unknown illness believed to be the result of poor housing conditions. The facility, located on the grounds of Tarra State Prison, is used to study the impact of living at human-like density on primates.
Pritchet said that several factors contributed to the success of the search and rescue mission at Tarra.
“We’ve had really good cooperation from state representatives, the prison administration and the University of Washington,” she said.
The Department of Corrections said in a statement that the three chimps arrived at the Seattle sanctuary on Sunday.
“The Wildlife Services chimps were delivered to the sanctuary on Saturday night and will be cared for and monitored by experts at the Sanctuary,” the statement said