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Central Washington University

CWU Chimpanzees Arrive Safely at Canadian Sanctuary

Tatu and Loulis, the two remaining chimpanzees at Central Washington University’s Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI), have arrived safely at their new home in Canada. Mary Lee Jensvold, director of CHCI, accompanied the chimpanzees to Fauna Foundation, www.faunafoundation.org, a 200-acre permanent sanctuary located in Quebec.

Their daylong journey began on August 28. The chimpanzees were lightly sedated for their safety and well being, and placed in cages for travel and then flew non-stop from Ellensburg to Quebec in a special transport jet and delivered to the facility. In addition to Jensvold, a 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 (ASL), will be gradually integrated with the eleven other chimpanzees at the sanctuary. Jensvold is staying for a week to help acclimate the chimpanzees to their new residence. In addition, Gloria Grow,  the director at the Fauna Foundation, was in a two-week Earthwatch program at CHCI  in 1995. She has recently learned some ASL.

“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.

Friends of Washoe was established to ensure the care of Washoe and her family and will continue to do so until the passing of Tatu and Loulis. The organization paid all of the costs of transporting and relocating the chimpanzees to their new home.

The Fauna Foundation was created in 1997 to provide a protected environment for neglected, abandoned or abused farmed and domestic animals and animals from entertainment, education and research. Their advisory board includes Roger and Deborah Fouts, the originators of CHCI; renowned primate researcher Jane Goodall; and Mary Lee Jensvold.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu

September 3, 2013

This release has been amended to correct inaccuracies.