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Chimpanzee's reaction to seeing the sky for the first time after being caged for 28 years has us emotional

'She had never been outside of a lab cage or the garage-sized enclosure she was transferred to in California,' Save the Chimps, a private sanctuary said.

Chimpanzee's reaction to seeing the sky for the first time after being caged for 28 years has us emotional
Cover Image Source: YouTube | USA TODAY

Every creature on this earth deserves to live free and there should not be any question about it. We take so much for granted and miss out on beautiful things in life. When was the last time you appreciated an open sky? A 29-year-old chimpanzee named Vanilla of New York's infamous Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) recently saw an open sky first time in her life and her reaction will break your heart. The primate was in the notorious laboratory during her early years until it closed in 1997. According to Save the Chimps, she was housed in 5'x5'x7' cages suspended from the ground like bird cages.



Sweet Vanilla was among a group later transferred to California, where she was confined to a larger enclosure. The refuge went out of business in 2019 and was threatened by wildfires, according to The New York Post. "In California, Vanilla lived with a handful of chimps inside a chain-link fence cage with no grass and very little enrichment," Save the Chimps' primatologist Dr. Andrew Halloran shared.



She is now among 226 chimpanzees discarded from laboratories, the entertainment industry, the exotic pet trade and roadside zoos that have been rehomed. The chimpanzee sanctuary arranged for FedEx to fly her and her group to the 150-acre Sunshine State location. According to the Save the Chimps official website, "It took a lot of devoted people to make our move to Florida possible and now I look forward to calling this my forever home. After quarantine, a process that all new chimpanzees at Save the Chimps go through, my family and I are being introduced into one of the larger family groups here at the sanctuary. I am now fully integrated into the group and we have a 3-acre island to explore and the freedom to choose where and how to spend our days. My first time outside, I was in awe of the open sky, a sight I had never seen in my life as my former homes had cage tops. I enjoy exploring the island and relaxing and grooming with my family on the island."



In a heartwarming video posted on the YouTube channel of Save the Chimps, it's hard to deny the pure happiness on the sweet animal's face as she sees the open sky for the first time in nearly three decades! We are so glad to witness that Vanilla is enjoying the freedom that she so rightly deserves. She's even super social and playful with other primates. "Vanilla is settling in very well," Save the Chimps said in a statement, as reported by Fox 29. "When she's not exploring the island with her friends, she can usually be found perched atop a three-story climbing platform surveying her new world. She gets along with all of the other 18 chimps on her island and has a particularly playful relationship with the alpha male Dwight, from whom she steals food," they added.


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