Leading up to the five year anniversary next week, we wanted to share the stories of each chimpanzee before they came to CSNW. Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy, and Negra all were housed in a windowless basement at the Buckshire Corporation in Pennsylvania before they were rescued in June 2008. Buckshire leased their chimps primarily to two laboratories: White Sands Research Center (which later became the infamous Coulston Foundation) in New Mexico, and the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (otherwise known as LEMSIP) in New York.
Through their decades in research, the chimpanzees were routinely anesthetized, or “knocked down,” for physical exams and to be injected with vaccines or provide blood samples for research. After giving birth to infants, they were anesthetized and their babies were removed from them and taken to a nursery where they would become the next generation of research chimpanzees.
Today, the chimpanzees no longer have to live in fear of being injected with vaccines or undergo invasive exams, they no longer have to sleep in 5 x 5 x 7 foot cages with slatted bars for a floor, and they no longer have to be alone. Now they have the feeling of sun on their backs when on Young’s Hill, they have the choice of what to play with or who to interact with, they get really healthy and delicious fresh fruit and veggies, and they can relax. CSNW has given them what they deserve, a peaceful and comfortable retirement.
Today, we’ll share Annie’s story:
We don’t know a lot about Annie’s infancy. She was reportedly captured from the wild to be used in research and it’s estimated that she was born in 1974. Buckshire purchase Annie from a private breeder and leased her out to White Sands Research Center where she was used in hepatitis vaccine research and also used as a breeder. Records indicate that she arrived at White Sands in late 1981. Ten days after her arrival to White Sands, she was knocked down to have her blood drawn and get a new tattoo—“WSRC #33.” A couple months later she was transferred to her first breeding cage.
Annie would have been a youngster, a merely seven years old when she was forced to breed. She was transferred back and forth for nearly two years and bred with at least seven different males—David, Max, Panchito, Rufus, Mack, Chuck, and Cheetah. In June 1983, she gave birth to her first infant, Tobias, who was immediately removed and taken to the nursery.
6/22/83 – Delivered infant male #78 Tobias, appears healthy – removed to nursery.
In the wild, chimpanzee mothers will nurse their babies for the first four or five years. Just like humans, their bond is incredibly strong. But in the lab, babies were immediately taken away from their mothers and never allowed to make that bond. Annie was never able to truly be a mother, and was instead transferred countless times between even more male breeding partners.
Over the next decade, Annie gave birth to five more babies—Abby, Brooke, Virgil, Mariah, and Damian. In the technicians’ reports she was said to be a good mother, observed nursing and cleaning her infants. In most cases, Annie’s infants were stolen from her within days of giving birth. In each case, she was knocked down and the babies were removed and taken to the nursery.
7/24/84 – Delivered healthy infant female #101 Abby. Removed and taken to nursery – infant appears in good health – mother cleaned very well.
9/12/87 – Delivered healthy infant female… mother taking good care of infant, clean and nursing. Infant #CA0168 (Brooke).
Annie got to care for Brooke for almost a whole week: 9/18/87 – Infant female removed and taken to nursery. Stayed on mother since 9/12 – excellent mother… both infant and mother appear in excellent health.
6/23/89 – Infant taken from mother at this time… to the nursery. Infant named Virgil #201.
9/24/91 – Took infant to nursery. Infant was a girl #224 (Mariah).
5/6/94 – Gave birth at approx. 2:20pm. Mother taking good care of baby. Infant is looking good at this time. (Damian #244)
5/7/94 – Animal anesthetized to remove baby… Baby was not holding onto mother or nursing.
After spending over a decade at WSRC (which became the Coulston Foundation), she finally was shipped back to Buckshire in late 1996. For the next 12 years, she stayed at Buckshire, never getting to be a mother to her babies, never getting to make true friends and never getting to really be a chimpanzee. Read what Diana said when she first met Annie (and Missy).
Annie, on her second day in sanctuary:
In June 2008, she was rescued by Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and retired to live with the Cle Elum Seven, where she has had access to sun over her head and grass under her feet for probably the first time since she was captured from Africa.
Annie now, on Young’s Hill:
To honor Annie’s five years in sanctuary, Give Five today to help give her one meal of delicious fresh fruits and veggies. Share with your friends, too!