Research chimp sanctuary opens in north Georgia

New chimp sanctuary opens in north Georgia

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. -- A brand new chimp sanctuary is now open in north Georgia.

The sprawling facility will eventually house 80 animals retired from medical experimentation.

Security is tight on the campus where those behind the project have been working to bring chimps since 2014.

You can hear them before you see them. Traveling overnight from Louisiana, nine chimps arrived Thursday afternoon at the sanctuary.

It was an emotional homecoming for the Project Chimp staff who had worked tirelessly worked to open the Fannin County operation.

They received a lot of pushback during the permitting process from people worried about escapes and possible diseases.

CEO Sarah Baeckler Davis said safety was their number one concern, however.

Seventeen to twenty foot walls surround the 236 acre property backed up by an electric fence.

The facility was built to withstand an F7 tornado.

And all the chimps have to be cleared by a veterinarian before they make the trip and be free of any disease that humans could catch.

"We had three rounds of permitting and accreditation to get the facility here," Baeckler said.

Now that the chimps are in place, the staff will spend the next few weeks getting to know each of them and their personalities.

"This is important because they've given their lives to us and to research and we owe it to them to let them live out the rest of their lives in peace," Baeckler said.

While they already have t-shirts and a logo designed, they're not allowing the public to come visit the chimps just yet. They have to clear the quarantine period first which is about 30 days. Then they'll see when thy can get the public in to visit them.

(© 2016 WXIA)


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