Sponsor steps forward, names new Chimp Haven baby - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Sponsor steps forward, names new Chimp Haven baby

Posted: Updated: Sep 5, 2012 01:54 PM CDT
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KEITHVILLE, LA (KSLA) -

Chimp Haven's newest addition now has a sponsor and a name.

The female chimp was born August 13 to 42-year-old Ginger, a chimpanzee retired from medical research and living at the Keithville sanctuary. The product of a failed vasectomy, the pregnancy had come as a surprise. All of the males in the sanctuary have since been re-vasectomized to avoid further unplanned pregnancies.

Naming rights were reserved for someone who might step forward to adopt her and support her for life.

That someone did has stepped forward to become the adoptive "grandmother." Anita Hirsh, who lives in Southern California, has named the baby in honor of her late mother, Natalie. "My mother loved animals and nature. I believe that, while she could have been surprised that I would adopt a chimpanzee, she would also have been amused and very pleased," explains Hirsh.

According to a statement released by Chimp Haven, Hirsh was asked what prompted her to make such a significant donation. "Chimp Haven does an incredible job providing a home for the chimpanzees who need humane care and the company of other chimpanzees," Hirsh says "And, they do it with surprisingly modest funding. So, when the financially unexpected—an unplanned baby—occurred, I felt it was incumbent upon those of us who have supported Chimp Haven to step up to the plate and take care of this baby."

Ms. Hirsh goes on to challenge others to help by saying that, "Natalie is not the only baby at Chimp Haven who needed an adoptive parent.  There is a six-month-old baby, Valentina Rose (thought to share the same father as Natalie), who was finally named through a contest when no one offered to support her.  I'm hoping there is someone out there who will find it in their heart to adopt her.  I will say that there's nothing like being an adoptive parent.  You can have wonderful visits with the family and leave the feeding, child rearing, and discipline up to the baby's biological mother and the Chimp Haven care staff."

Chimp Haven says the cost of supporting Valentina Rose for life, depending upon payment options, starts at about $425,000. The lifetime cost is lower for older chimpanzees who have a shorter life expectancy.

While Valentina Rose waits for a lifetime sponsor, Chimp Haven says they need support now.  Dr. Linda Brent, President of Chimp Haven, says there are many ways people can help. "I cannot begin to express our gratitude for Anita Hirsh's generosity. She has set an example that others can follow in proportion to their means. Of course, we would love to find someone who could fully support Valentina Rose, but there are alternatives.  We have a donor who provides yearly support, about $13,000, for one chimpanzee.  We have people who have pooled their money with other donors to fully support another chimpanzee.  We also have an adoption program where people select a chimpanzee and send whatever they can afford.  The point is, everyone can adopt a chimpanzee at some level at Chimp Haven." 

For more information, go to the Chimp Haven website at www.chimphaven.org 

Copyright 2012 KSLA. All rights reserved.

SIDEBAR: About Chimp Haven

Updated:

Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide a permanent retirement sanctuary for chimpanzees no longer used for biomedical research, entertainment, or as pets.

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