5.7
September 4, 2011

Apes seeing the light of Day for the first time.

All beings yearn for freedom.

After a lifetime of captivity indoors…freedom. Reminds me of this.

“Chimps caged for 30 years finally set free… best bro moment at 1:25 (video)”

Laboratory chimps caged for 30 years are finally released to a sanctuary.

Like prisoners emerging from a lifetime behind bars, a group of chimpanzees step blinking into the sunlight. This is the first time they have felt grass under their feet and breathed fresh air for 30 years. A few of the chimps were born in captivity but most were kidnapped from African jungles as babies and flown to Europe, where they were locked in metal laboratory cages to be used in a long series of experiments. Their ordeal finally ended in September 2011 when 38 of the surviving chimps were released into a sanctuary in Austria called Gut Aiderbichl, allowing them to feel the nurturing contact of their fellow chimps after years of being separated by bars and bullet-proof glass. Link to sanctuary: http://www.gut-aiderbichl.at/

Audio says this is a rehabilitation clinic for laboratory apes. some apes where born captive, never saw daylight, never learned to climb, and only saw humans in airtight labcoats. some apes where captured and remembered butterflies from their childhood.”

~

Woman Narrator

They see for the first time in their lives, the sun. After decades in an experiment laboratory, this is the first step of the chimpanzees in to freedom.

Man Narrator

They hugged each other, like they would say they were finally free. And then they laughed. One imagines being locked up for 30 years in an elevator, then to open the door with friends and say “I don’t believe it.” They have only seen people wearing protective clothing; they have never had regular contact. They never learned to climb, because they were brought to the laboratory as babies. Now they can finally get out.

Woman Narrator

Most of the former 38 monkeys have spent the entire lives behind bars. Since 2002, they are now in an Austrian village, slowing being prepared a life in freedom. This moment was for both animal and people equally unique.

Man Narrator

I saw a chimpanzee, who was starring completely fascinated at a butterfly. He knew it, from back when he was a small chimpanzee in the jungle, and now he can see them again.

Woman Narrator

And the monkeys that were born in the laboratory are discovering everything for the first time. The air, the grass, the freedom.

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Raine Sep 25, 2014 9:36am

I blubbered like a baby. It breaks my heart to imagine what they endured. I remember once while in college, in a biology course. I'll never forget the opening statement/forward in the first pages of the text book. It basically said that humans who have been entrusted with so much are many times the worst animals of all. I am glad that there are people who really understand that all life should be treated with respect. And that doing anything less is an insult to the meaning of life itself. I only wish these kind of people outnumbered the selfish and ignorant.

MAD Hippies Sep 25, 2014 6:15am

So touching to see these beautiful loves exploring!

Lori Ohmart Nov 5, 2013 8:33pm

Thank you so much. So much happiness and sadness. Grateful for people like you.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.