Chimp Haven is a sanctuary for chimpanzees retired from government laboratories. To be fair, "liberated" might be a more appropriate word to describe their current status. Having spent all or most of their lives in a laboratory cage, these chimpanzees cannot be simply released into an open population. They have health and behavioral needs unique to their histories in the lab.
At Chimp Haven, they are able to slowly reacquaint themselves to a life of freedom. Although they remain monitored, they have the freedom to explore their landscape and form social bonds like they never had before. Manmade "termite mounds" allow them to exercise problem solving skills to fish out food and gain a sense of autonomy and independence.
Knowing that there is a place for them, and that work is continuing to free more animals warms my heart. But nothing compares to the moment when I saw them look up to the sky for the first time. They know that this is the beginning of a whole new life. That sense of wonder and hope is a feeling few of us know first hand, but many can appreciate.
What do you think of this project by the Humane Society? Tell us your thoughts in our comments section.