Chimp Haven

Mary Ehret


Life is stressful. Luckily, Louisiana is home to several animal sanctuaries where you yourself can go to take refuge. 

Take Avery Island — it’s more than just Tabasco! Each spring, thousands of Snowy Egrets nest in the island’s bird sanctuary. The egrets settle on piers in a pond nicknamed “Bird City.” 

Chimp Haven Set To Begin Construction On New Housing

May 3, 2013

The national chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, La., is making accommodations to care for 111 newly-retired government-owned chimps that were used in medical research over the years. To date, Chimp Haven has taken in 50 of the chimps from the New Iberia Research Center. Chimp Haven President Cathy Willis Spraetz said the remaining 61 will not be relocated to the sanctuary until September.

“We will delay the transport of those chimpanzees until the fall because the brutal summer can be really devastating, particularly for an elderly chimpanzee," Spraetz said.

The introduction of new chimpanzees into the established groups at Chimp Haven can be tricky. There tends to be some infighting at first. Eight federally-owned former research chimps from New Iberia are learning to live in their new groups at the national sanctuary in Keithville, La. Chimp Haven is now home to 169 retired chimps.

Chimp Haven Prepares for Influx of Retirees to Sanctuary

Jan 24, 2013

More than 100 chimps retired from medical research are about to get a new home.

Most of the primates who have been living at the New Iberia Research Center will soon make their permanent residence at the Chimp Haven sanctuary, the National Institutes of Health said Wednesday.

The latest paternity test at the national sanctuary for retired research chimpanzees confirms that Conan has overcome two vasectomies to father three babies.

Chimp Haven announced the results Monday.

Every male chimp must get a vasectomy before coming to the northwest Louisiana sanctuary. After Conan fathered a baby in 2007, his tubes were clipped again. After a Valentine's Day baby turned out to be his, every male chimp still interested in and living with females got a more complicated vasectomy.

A surprise baby at the national sanctuary for research chimps in Louisiana has a lifetime sponsor and a name.

Chimp Haven spokeswoman Karen Allen says a southern California woman, Anita Hirsh, pledged $13,000 a year to "adopt" the baby, now named for Hirsh's late mother, Natalie.

The federal government covers three-quarters of the cost for animals used in federal research, but not for babies or chimps that were privately owned before coming to the sanctuary near Keithville in northwest Louisiana.

KEITHVILLE, La. — Officials at the national sanctuary for retired research chimpanzees say a 42-year-old female whose unexpected pregnancy was discovered in February has given birth to a healthy girl.

Ginger's pregnancy was discovered after another female in her group gave birth on Valentine's Day. Both were surprise pregnancies: every male must get a vasectomy before coming to Chimp Haven, where 125 chimps live in small groups.

Since then, every male has been given a newer, more complex vasectomy. And every female is on birth control.