FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Florida is not just a hot spot for retirees but also chimpanzees; 266 of them call the Save the Chimps Sanctuary in Fort Pierce home.
In the heart of Florida's citrus country, chimps rescued from research labs, entertainment, and pet trade seek refuge on 150 acres.
Sanctuary Director Jen Feuerstein took Local 10's Ben Kennedy through the 12 island city the animals call home, where she can name each and every chimp.
But despite being the world's largest chimpanzee sanctuary, it's not big enough. The National Institute of Health is considering retiring more than 300 research chimps, which means they need a place to live.
It costs $15,000 a year to care for just one chimp.
"It definitely requires a significant investment, but what the chimpanzees went through, I think that they are worth it and deserve it," Feuerstein said.
Relocation can take three to five years. Save the Chimps is already gearing up to welcome the new faces, but needs more funding.
They plan to turn to the federal government for help.
"We do feel that the federal government is responsible for the long-term care of the chimps," said Feuerstein. "They made the decision to breed the chimps and use them for biomedical research so we feel they should help take care of them for their lifetime."
Feuerstein said they are willing to work with NIH to raise private funds to give the chimpanzees a new life.
To make a donation, contact:
Save the Chimps
P.O. Box 12220
Fort Pierce, FL 34979
Tel: (772) 429-0403