Video: Vanilla the Chimpanzee Experiences the Sky for the First Time After a Life in Captivity

Written by Henrik Rothen

Apr.13 - 2024 11:22 AM CET

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube
After spending decades behind bars, a chimpanzee named Vanilla captures hearts worldwide with her first glimpse of the sky. Discover her journey from captivity to freedom.

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When Vanilla, a 28-year-old chimpanzee, looked up and saw the endless expanse of blue for the first time, her reaction was nothing short of profound.

This touching moment, captured in a video released by Save the Chimps, shows Vanilla as she steps into the fresh air of her new home at a Florida sanctuary.

Vanilla's story begins in a biomedical research center in New York, where she and her companions lived in conditions described by Save the Chimps as "elevated like in bird cages."

In 1995, Vanilla and 29 other chimpanzees were rescued and relocated to the Wildlife Waystation in California, a refuge that closed in 2019, necessitating another move for nearly 480 animals, including 42 chimpanzees.

A New Home in Florida

Today, Vanilla lives on a 1.2-hectare island sanctuary, where she has "fully integrated" with her new group, according to Save the Chimps.

She spends her days exploring her island, relaxing, and grooming with her new family. The transition from a confined cage to an open space where the sky is visible marks a significant moment in Vanilla’s life, symbolizing freedom and new beginnings.

The use of chimpanzees in biomedical research has been a part of U.S. science since the 1930s.

However, in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would no longer support the use of chimpanzees for research purposes.

This policy shift has undoubtedly paved the way for many other chimpanzees like Vanilla to experience life beyond laboratory walls.

Watch the touching video below

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