Public judging has commenced online for a unique contest featuring artwork created by chimpanzees in sanctuaries, including one at Tumalo's Chimps Inc.
Hosted by The Humane Society of the United States, the friendly competition is designed to draw attention to the abilities of these great apes and the essential role sanctuaries play in ensuring that chimpanzees receive the specialized care they need after difficult lives spent in research, entertainment and the pet trade.
The artwork will be judged by famed primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall and voted on by the public online.
Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues at The HSUS said: “As we continue to move toward a time when exploitation of chimpanzees in the United States is no longer tolerated, more and more of these animals will be in need of permanent sanctuary. The public’s support of high quality sanctuaries is critical now more than ever.”
For the contest, six members of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance have submitted an original piece of enrichment artwork created by one of their resident chimpanzees.
Creating artwork is one of many enrichment activities sanctuaries can offer captive chimpanzees.
The public will have an opportunity to vote online Aug.13-22 and all contest results will be announced Aug. 29. The resident sanctuaries will be awarded grant prizes from The HSUS to help care for retired chimpanzees. After the contest, the artwork will be auctioned off and the proceeds will benefit the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, added: “Sadly, these chimpanzees will never be able to return to the wild, so it’s desperately important that we do everything possible to support really good sanctuaries where they can live out their lives in peace. They have suffered enough.”
The contest entries include enrichment artwork by:
- Brent from Chimp Haven in Keithville, La.
- Cheetah from Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Fla.
- Jamie from Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Wash.
- Jenny from Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Ky.
- Patti from Chimps, Inc. in Bend, Ore.
- Ripley from Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Fla.
The grant prize amounts will be as follows:
- Online voting: humanesociety.org/chimpart
- 1st place public voting: $10,000
- 2nd place public voting: $5,000
- 3rd place public voting: $2,500
- 1st place public voting: $10,000
- Judged prize (Dr. Goodall’s selection): $5,000
- Each sanctuary will receive a $500 grant for entering the contest
- The North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance currently has eight member sanctuaries that provide excellent, lifetime care for nearly 500 chimpanzees retired from research, entertainment and the pet trade. The organization’s mission is “to advance the welfare of captive primates through exceptional sanctuary care, collaboration and outreach.”
- It is estimated that there are more than 1,100 chimpanzees in the United States who currently reside in laboratories, entertainment facilities, private residences, and unaccredited facilities.
- In June, the National Institutes of Health announced plans to retire nearly 90 percent of the 360 government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuary and significantly decrease chimpanzee research grants.
- Also in June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule to list all chimpanzees as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. If finalized, that proposal is expected to significantly impact the use of chimps for harmful biomedical research, entertainment, and interstate trade as pets. Any use of chimpanzees that would cause harm to the animals would require a permit and FWS would evaluate each permit application individually to determine whether the proposed action would promote conservation of the species, as required by the ESA.