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You're probably aware that Chimp Haven, located right here in the Arklatex, is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world.  Chimp Haven was designed to provide chimpanzees rescued from research and the entertainment industry a place to live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort.

Chimpanzees are mankind's closest animal relative.  Being very much like us, they each have distinctive personalities, emotions, and relationships.  And Chimp Haven was designed specifically for chimp habitation, giving them more than just trees to climb, but providing engaging activities, as well as plenty of food, and leisure time. Chimp Haven also determines "social interactions," placing chimps in groups best suited for each chimp.  Currently, Chimp Haven is home to over 300 chimpanzees.  And they have just received the final group of chimpanzees, know as the 'Treetop 10',  from a recently closed sanctuary in California.

Wildlife Waystation, a wildlife refuge outside Los Angeles closed in 2019, leaving behind all of their animals. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was able to step in and quickly rehome most of the animals, but 40 chimpanzees were still left, with no place to go. Because chimpanzees are very intelligent, complicated creatures, they require complex and specialized care.  The very type of care provided by Chimp Haven. Chimp Haven stepped up to give the remaining 10 chimps a home. 

Chimp Haven President and CEO Rana Smith shared her excitement about welcoming these new residents to Chimp Haven.

“Everyone at Chimp Haven is thrilled to welcome The Treetop Ten to the sanctuary and provide these individuals with what we call the Chimp Life. Every aspect of our sanctuary is designed to meet the social, physical and psychological needs of chimpanzees. It is a place where they will thrive,” Smith said. “Once they have time to acclimate to their new home, our team will offer opportunities for them to meet other chimpanzees and potentially expand their social groups, giving them the closest possible experience to life in the wild.” 

The rescue was made possible by the non-profit group, Chimpanzees in Need, who has the endorsement of Dr. Jane Goodall, a leading ethologist and chimpanzee activist.

“I’ve visited these sanctuaries,” Goodall said of Chimp Haven and other accredited sanctuaries working to save the Wildlife Waystation chimpanzees. “They’ll provide perfect environments where these chimpanzees, who’ve known so much suffering, can live out their lives in peace.”

Although the new chimps are safely in their new home at Chimp Haven, more is needed to complete the project.  If you'd like to learn more about the chimpanzee rescue effort and how you can help support their care in the sanctuary, visit

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