After the death of Dar,last November, one of the three chimps at the CHCI sanctuary here in Ellenburg, the other two seem to be lonelier than usual.
According to an article in the observer, workers at the sanctuary have expressed concerns about the well-being and behaviors of Tatu and Loulis, who are 37 and 34 years old. The director of CHCI, Bonnie Hendrickson, stated that the typical age of death for chimpanzees in captivity is 31. Having the chimps feeling depressed is not going to help them live any longer. The debate right now is whether to remodel the CHCI sanctuary and add more chimps or just send Tatu and Loulis somewhere else.
Central Washington University is one of two universities in the world to have a chimpanzee behavioral program on campus. The other is located at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, so a lot of people throughout the States come to CWU’s campus to study/observer the chimps. Moving the chimps away from the Ellenburg campus could cause problems for the chimps, who have territorial issues and the school.
If the school was to release the chimps to somewhere else than the school will lose some of their financial income. The sanctuary gets so many school visits from all over the state each year and it diverfies Central from any other school in the country. I think the best idea for the school would be to update the sanctuary and introduce new chimps to the place, that way the school doesn’t lose out profits that it clearly needs and its uniqueness. All in all Central should do what it best for the nature and well-being for the chimps but it will be sad to see them leave.