The fates of 32 chimpanzees stranded in the shuttered Wildlife Waystation in the Angeles National Forest depend on raising the funds needed to build permanent new homes at sanctuaries willing to take them, officials said on Tuesday.
More than 500 exotic animals, including lions, tigers, alligators, wolves, owls and Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs, have been relocated since the troubled 44-year-old center surrendered its California Department of Fish and Wildlife permits and shut down for good a year ago.
The challenge now will be raising the estimated $10 million it will take to continue caring for the chimps and installing accommodations for them at the Center for Great Apes in Florida, Primarily Primates Inc. in Texas, Chimp Haven Inc. in Louisiana and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Washington.
“The problem is that sanctuaries are at capacity because demand has skyrocketed since the use of chimps in research laboratories ended in 2016,” said Erika Fleury, spokeswoman for the nonprofit North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.
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