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Public Invited to Special Screening of "Sue Perkins and the Chimp Sanctuary" at Audubon Zoo

Visitors are invited to explore the national chimpanzee sanctuary on Sept. 15, Oct. 20, & Nov. 17

Located 5 hours outside of New Orleans, Chimp Haven, the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary, is welcoming visitors for three select Discovery Days this fall. Animal sanctuaries are rarely open to the public, so Chimpanzee Discovery Days offers an exclusive opportunity to see firsthand the 200-acre forested refuge home to more than 250 chimpanzees retired from medical research.

“Chimp Haven is truly a unique experience, and unlike any place else. We are excited to welcome visitors to the sanctuary this fall,” said Chimp Haven President and CEO Rana Smith. “We’ve welcomed visitors from as far away as California, the United Kingdom and even Australia, who said they came to Louisiana just to experience our sanctuary. We rarely open to visitors, but when we do it is an enriching experience for the chimpanzees and an exciting, fun-filled experience for the entire family.”

On Sept. 15, Oct. 20, and Nov. 17, 2018, visitors are invited to observe the chimpanzees as they interact and play in lush outdoor habitats, discover the natural wonders nestled in the forested oasis, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the growing facility. Staff members will be there to lead educational talks and answer questions about the chimpanzees, their personalities and preferences, what they eat and how the veterinarians provide each individual personalized veterinary care.

The New Orleans community is invited to enhance their experience by attending a special screening of “Sue Perkins and the Chimp Sanctuary,” the BBC documentary that follows animal-lover and host Sue Perkins as she travels to Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana and learns just how beautiful chimp life really is. The event is Wednesday, October 10 at 6 p.m. in the Dominion Audutorium at Audubon Zoo. The screening is free to the public; however, individuals must RSVP by October 2 with Alison Anderson, at

Chimpanzees were once widely used for biomedical research studies. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the Chimpanzee Health Improvement Maintenance Protection Act into law to create a pathway to sanctuary retirement for government-owned chimps. The nonprofit chimpanzee sanctuary Chimp Haven was selected as the national sanctuary for retired research chimps. In 2015, the National Institutes of Health announced its landmark decision to phase out invasive research on chimpanzees and since that time more than 200 chimpanzees have made their way to sanctuary, with more than 200 awaiting transition.

Today, the sanctuary, located 30 miles southwest of Shreveport, Louisiana, is in the process of moving chimpanzees from research facilities in New Mexico and Texas to their new home at Chimp Haven. The sanctuary is expanding, building more veterinary suites and forested habitats and open-air enclosures to comfortably accommodate more retiring chimpanzees in the years ahead.

Fall 2018 Chimpanzee Discover Days are Sept. 15, Oct. 20, and Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Entrance fees for Chimpanzee Discovery Days are $10 for adults; $5 for children ages 6 to 12; and free for children 5 years and younger. Guests can also purchase tickets for behind-the-scenes tours, which are priced at $10 for adults and $5 for children.

To learn more about Chimpanzee Discovery Days and plan your visit, please go to


Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.

Chimp Haven

Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary, is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that serves as a refuge for chimpanzees, most of whom were retired from biomedical research. Located on 200 acres of rich forested land near Shreveport, Louisiana, the sanctuary is home to more than 250 chimpanzees who are able to live out the rest of their lives in comfortable retirement. The sanctuary is dedicated to meeting the needs of its chimps. It is made up of a wide range of dynamic habitats for the chimpanzees, including multiple acres of natural forests for them to explore. More information can be found at