Project ChimpCARE is committed to improving the welfare of all 1,000+ chimpanzees in the United States today, whether they live in zoos, research centers, sanctuaries, or private homes.
More than 1,000 chimpanzees live in the United States today. Unlike other great apes in the U.S., they are housed in a wide variety of facilities—including zoos, research centers, and sanctuaries—and even as pets and performers under private ownership. Recognizing that each chimp is a sentient individual with complex social, emotional and cognitive needs, scientists with Lincoln Park Zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Conservation of Apes founded Project ChimpCARE to improve the lives of all chimpanzees in the country, regardless of their situation.
Founded in 2009, Project ChimpCARE (Communication, Advocacy, Research, and Education) conducted the first full–scale census of all chimpanzees in the United States. The project has also facilitated scientific research focusing on how private ownership impacts chimpanzees. One early, groundbreaking study demonstrated how inappropriate portrayals of the species in the media (movies, television, and advertising) warp public understanding of chimpanzee welfare and conservation. Later, a series of studies shed light on the behavioral, psychological, and emotional suffering of chimps kept as pets and performers.
Built on the foundation of collaboration and information-sharing, Project ChimpCARE has helped facilitate the rehoming of dozens of chimpanzees from private ownership to accredited zoos and sanctuaries, where they have rediscovered their true chimpanzee nature while integrating into more naturalistic environments and social groups.