It’s first-class travel for Bradley the chimp. He’s one of the last of the chimps on their way from the former Coulston Research Facility to a new home in Florida.
When Coulston came under fire for its cruel practices and was closed down, the whole facility was turned turned over to Save the Chimps, which has been looking after them at the Alamogordo Primate Facility at Holloman Air Force Base since 2002.
In 2006, Save the Chimps began moving them, 10 at a time, to their Florida sanctuary. On Monday, the last 10 — Taz, Sarah, Bart, Bradley, Marisha, Alari, Guilder, Howard, Torian and Roady — began their 37-hour journey to Florida.
The sanctuary has its own truck, and the chimps enjoy the ride. Jen Feuerstein, director of Save the Chimps, says they’re always fascinated by the trip.
“They have a good time on the road,” she said.
Once they get to the Florida sanctuary, they seem to know everything is different.
“Everything changes – body language, hair, personality,” said sanctuary veterinarian Jocelyn Bezner. “They are very vocal. They express their emotions.”
The chimp colony traces its lineage to the Air Force’s space chimp experiments in the late 1950s. A decade later, the toxicologist Frederick Coulston set out to build the world’s largest captive colony of chimpanzees for research, in New Mexico.