A chimpanzee formerly used in research reacts in awe when she sees the open sky for the first time. Vanilla, a 28-year-old chimp rescued by Save the Chimps, was apprehensive about stepping outside at first.
But she gets some warm encouragement from Dwight, the alpha male in the family at the sanctuary at Fort Pierce, Florida. As Vanilla hesitates at the door of the enclosure, Dwight gestures to her to come outside. She leaps into his arms and he gives her a big hug to reassure her everything will be all right. Watch Vanilla’s heartwarming reaction in the video below:
Shortly after, she looks up at the blue sky and her mouth drops in awe. Soon she’s exploring her new home – a 3-acre island at the sanctuary!
According to Save the Chimps, Vanilla spent her early years in a “biomedical research laboratory in New York where chimpanzees were commonly housed in 5’x5’x7’ cages suspended from the ground like bird cages.” She was later moved to Wildlife Waystation in 1995 and joined a small family group. There she never saw the open sky because she was housed in a home that had a cage top.
When the facility closed in 2019, Vanilla needed to find a new home. She was among the final animals to be rehomed and thanks to a big team effort she made her way safely to the sanctuary.
Save the Chimps is happy to say that Vanilla and her sister have been fully integrated into the group. And you can see in the video she has received a warm welcome. It’s nothing but blue skies for you from now on, Vanilla.
Save the Chimps writes on their website, “Vanilla and her sister, Shake, now regularly enjoy the freedom of a 3-acre island and companionship of large chimp family.”
If you would like to donate to Save the Chimps, gifts are currently being matched so that’s twice the support for Vanilla, her sister Shake and their more than 220 other residents!