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Saving sanctuaries

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Science  04 Dec 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6521, pp. 1152-1155
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6521.1152

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Summary

Chimpanzee sanctuaries are under the microscope. Since April, former employees of some of the country's biggest chimp refuges have alleged a number of animal welfare issues, from apes not getting proper medical care to hair pulling and other stress behaviors. All of this could be bad news for these operations, as they struggle for donations, and for the retirement of ex–research chimps that still remain in biomedical facilities. But primatologist Steve Ross may have a solution. One of the country's most respected chimp experts, he's developing a science-based assessment for chimp welfare: a checklist of what chimps need in captivity, according to the latest research, and the best way to address welfare issues. Ross sees this as not just an additional "gold stamp" for sanctuaries, but as a way for them to assuage the public, regulators, and even the biomedical community that they are living up to top standards for chimpanzee care.

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