Remaining CWU Chimps Arrive at Sanctuary in Canada - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Remaining CWU Chimps Arrive at Sanctuary in Canada

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. - The two remaining chimpanzees from the Central Washington University's Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute are now safely at their new home in Canada. 

The director at CHCI accompanied Tatu and Loulis to Fauna Foundation, a 200-acre permanent sanctuary in Quebec. Veterinarians lightly sedated the chimps as they traveled by vans in cages to Sea-Tac.

They then flew non-stop to Quebec in a special transport jet and were delivered to the facility. Their primate veterinarian was on board to monitor the animals' vital signs. 

"Every effort was made to ensure the chimpanzees' welfare," said Kirk Johnson, dean of CWU's College of the Sciences."That included reducing any kind of emotional stress or trauma."

Tatu and Loulis, who learned to communicate via American Sign Language, will be gradually integrated with the eleven other chimpanzees at the sanctuary. One of the caretakers at the Fauna Foundation, is an alumna of the CHCI primate program, so the two chimpanzees can continue to communicate via sign language.  

"There's no doubt that Tatu and Loulis will have a better quality of life at the sanctuary," said. Johnson. "They'll have a more natural environment, and more chimpanzees to interact with."

Research indicates that family relationships are vital to the emotional and physical well being of chimpanzees, which live in extended family groups of as many as 20-120 individuals. Earlier this year, the Friends of Washoe, the non-profit organization that owns the chimpanzees, decided it would be in the chimpanzees best interests to move them to a sanctuary that afforded them with more opportunities for social interactions with other chimpanzees. This was after the natural deaths of two of the chimpanzees in the past several years had reduced the group to only two.

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