Photo: Project Chimps

Our Story

Project Chimp’s mission is to provide lifelong exemplary care to chimpanzees retired from research.

September 14, 2015 marked the effective end of unrestricted invasive experiments on chimpanzees. All chimps, both wild and captive, were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on that day, after a decades-long fight to end the use of chimpanzees in laboratory research. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) led this fight, alongside many other leaders and supporters in the chimpanzee sanctuary community, including founding board member and noted animal law attorney Bruce Wagman and Sarah Baeckler Davis. The National Institutes of Health, on the heels of the ESA decision, made a final announcement in November 2015 that it would no longer fund invasive chimpanzee research and would retire all government-owned chimpanzees to the federal sanctuary.

Project Chimps was founded specifically to provide lifetime care to former research chimpanzees at its sanctuary on 236-acres of forested land in northern Georgia. Project Chimps reached an agreement with the biomedical research laboratory that has the largest population of privately-owned chimpanzees in the United States in order to bring the lab’s chimpanzees to Project Chimps’ sanctuary. Project Chimps is in the process of transferring these intelligent and sentient beings from the lab to their new homes, where they will spend the remainder of their lives.

The HSUS provided the capital to purchase property in the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia. This property was originally developed to be a gorilla sanctuary and had some of the needed infrastructure in place to repurpose immediately for chimpanzee housing.

Project Chimps founding board member Marsha Perelman (also a member of the Board of The HSUS) and additional Project Chimps founding board members Billie Joe and Adrienne Armstrong and Elizabeth Bradham, along with other notable high profile donors such as Rachael Ray, Pink and Kat Von D also made key contributions toward the project’s initial capital needs. Other funders include the American Anti-Vivisection Society, New England Anti-Vivisection Society, National Anti-Vivisection Society, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Additional funding is provided by way of generous public support, philanthropic donors, and foundation grants.

Over $4,000,000 in improvements have been completed on the property since its purchase. Renovations focused first on the four chimpanzee “villas” and a complete renovation of the veterinary hospital. Repairs were made to the caregiver residence and road maintenance. Habitat clearing and repairs of the perimeter security fencing also commenced.

For the research industry, it’s the end of an era, but for these chimpanzees, it’s just the beginning. The first group of chimpanzees arrived at the Project Chimps sanctuary in the fall of 2016 from the University of Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center (NIRC), which made the impressive and admirable decision to move its entire population of over 200 chimpanzees to Project Chimps over the next few years.

This project would not be possible without our many generous individual supporters. We rely on donations to fulfill our mission and require ongoing funding for the future care of the chimpanzees and habitat expansion to accommodate all of our residents.

It’s their time to live. Won’t you support Project Chimps today?

“Congratulations to the Project Chimps team and its partners on this historic achievement for chimpanzees. I am 100% in support, and am so glad this dream is coming true.”

– Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

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