Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Surely they deserve better?

18 February 2016

Categories: Homepage News, Primates Campaign News, Zoo Check Campaign News

Retired US laboratory chimpanzees to be shipped to UK zoo – unless we take action

The Born Free Foundation is extremely concerned by plans to move 8 chimpanzees from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, USA to Wingham Wildlife Park, a zoo in Kent – and we need your help!

We recently submitted comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) asking that they refuse a permit to export the animals, as we believe that the animals’ best interests can be served by moving them to an accredited sanctuary in the USA, rather than a zoo in the UK.

USFWS have now reopened the public comment period until 22nd Feb 2016, and we are asking YOU to submit your concerns to them about the proposed move of the chimpanzees.

You may wish to raise the following points in your submission:

• The export is officially proposed on the grounds of the “enhancement of the survival of the species”. It is entirely unclear how sending the chimpanzees to a small zoo in the UK will enhance the survival of the species. Sending the chimps to a small zoo in the UK will in no way enhance the survival of the species. There is no conclusive evidence that zoos enhance education or conservation knowledge in visitors, and there is no chance that these ex-laboratory chimps or any offspring will be reintroduced to the wild. 

• Wingham Wildlife Park does not have experience managing chimps, and the lack of experience keeping of these animals raises concerns about the effectiveness of their planned programme. Furthermore, the zoo is not a member of the British Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) or the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), two professional bodies representing the best-resourced captive wild animal facilities in the country / region. 

• There are concerns about the conditions at the zoo are inadequate. The most recent formal inspection of Wingham was carried out in 2014, and the report highlights a number of problems in the zoo, including the need to improve cleaning of animal facilities and improve the hygiene of food storage areas.

• The misplaced priorities of the zoo are evidenced by the variety of ‘interactive’ animal experiences offered such as the ‘puma experience’ where you can give the puma a ‘good scratch and a tickle’. These interactions may pose a serious risk to public safety and are not in the animals’ best interest. These experiences also undermine any conservation or public education message.

• Wingham Wildlife Park is unsuitable for housing these chimpanzees, and an accredited sanctuary is a far more viable and compassionate option as a permanent home.

To submit your comments - visit: and click COMMENT NOW

Thank you

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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