Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lab chimps see the light of day for 1st time in 30 yrs.

VIENNA: This is the moment a group of chimpanzees see daylight for the first time in 30 years — after being locked in cages for medical testing. The animals hugged each other in delight before they took their first steps outside.
The apes embrace in a hug and smile before venturing out onto the grass together
The outing marked the end of a 14-year bid to re-integrate the 38 primates after they spent most of their lives cooped up inside. One commentator said: “They hugged as if saying, 'We're finally free'. And then they laughed.”
The chimpanzees were taken from their mothers shortly after their births and brought to a research facility in Austria.
A chimp grins widely as he explores grassy terrain after decades in captivity.
Scientists kept the animals in isolation and gave them HIV and hepatitis. Their ordeal finally ended in 1997 when the pharmaceutical company behind the research was sold
The chimps were moved to a farm where keepers tried to reintroduce them to life outside — but the process was not easy. The animals had spent so much time inside they were confused when shown patches of grass — and repeatedly threw them away.
A chimpanzee tentatively waits inside after a door is opened to his freedom.
The readjustment period took keepers more than a decade — implementing techniques that slowly made them comfortable venturing beyond their four wall
The lab chimps are now at the Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary, near Salzburg, Austria.

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