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Am J Primatol. 2011 Mar;73(3):226-32. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20887. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

The first chimpanzee sanctuary in Japan: an attempt to care for the "surplus" of biomedical research.

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  • 1Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University, Kumamoto, Japan.


This article specifically examines several aspects of the human-captive chimpanzee bond and the effort to create the first chimpanzee sanctuary in Japan. We discuss our ethical responsibility for captive chimpanzees that have been used in biomedical research. On April 1, 2007, the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Uto (CSU) was established as the first sanctuary for retired laboratory chimpanzees in Japan. This initiative was the result of the continuous efforts by members of Support for African/Asian Great Apes (SAGA), and the Great Ape Information Network to provide a solution to the large chimpanzee colony held in biomedical facilities. However, the cessation of invasive biomedical studies using chimpanzees has created a new set of challenges because Japan lacks registration and laws banning invasive ape experiments and lacks a national policy for the life-long care of retired laboratory chimpanzees. Therefore, CSU has initiated a relocation program in which 79 retired laboratory chimpanzees will be sent to domestic zoos and receive life-long care. By the end of 2009, the number of chimpanzees living at CSU had decreased from 79 to 59 individuals. A nationwide network of care facilities and CSU to provide life-long care of retired laboratory chimpanzees is growing across Japan. This will result in humane treatment of these research animals.

2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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