There’s a moment here – about a minute in – when you see chimps who have lived almost all their lives in research cages finally see the world God made them for – either again or for the first time. Some are as old as 50. The look on their faces is simply one of awe. Andri Antoniades sets the scene:
The United States remains one of the only two nations in the world that still uses chimpanzees for biomedical research purposes. Kept in laboratory cages, these animals are never given the chance to see the outside world, let alone touch it with their own hands. But that is (slowly) changing. Recently a small group of federally owned laboratory chimpanzees were retired to the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Keithville, LA. The Humane Society posted this clip of some of those animals and their first foray into a natural habitat. For the elderly chimps that were originally caught in the wild, it had been decades since they experienced life outside of a cage. And for the younger chimps that had been bred in captivity, this was their first time ever stepping onto soil or feeling the embrace of others in their group unobstructed by cage bars.