Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Another segment of the show talked about chimpanzees who live at Lion Safari in Florida. These chimpanzees were instrumental in research projects in the 60's that led to vaccinations for hepatitis and polio. Many chimps were used early on in the space program, before it was deemed safe for men to travel into space. They were shot into space and then studied once they returned to earth to learn the physiological affects on a body so similar to that of humans. A woman who was one of the researchers, and worked with these chimps, went to Lion Safari to see her old buddies. She had not seen them in 18 years. Once the research had been completed on these particular chimps, they had been moved to this facility in Florida to live out the rest of their lives. It was very touching to see how all of these chimps remembered her and greeted her return with big smiles and hugs. It was very apparent, that even after such a long time, they still remembered her. One of the oldest chimps that she visited was in the hospital when she visited. She said that he had been very instrumental in the research on hepatitis and humanity owed a lot of thanks to him for giving his life for medical science. He died two days after she visited with him.
This woman's dream was to create a place for the hundreds of other research chimps that are throughout the country and have no place to go....now that they are no longer used in the labs. She has been given 200 hundred acres in Shreveport, Louisiana to create an environment where these chimpanzees can live out the rest of their lives in their normal habitat instead of in a cage. What a wonderful thing that will be for these chimps that have given so much to mankind. Seems like the least we can do for them, don't you think ?