WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Cheetah fights with the others, and Timmy's heart is too weak to take the stress of living in a group. But they're great friends and cage mates.
The male chimpanzees have come a long way from being confined to small cages in a New Mexico research facility, but Timmy, Cheetah and five others are chimps with special needs.
"We had no way of knowing how they would do in large social groups," said Jen Feuerstein, sanctuary director for Save the Chimps.
Health and psychological problems prevent them from living with about 260 other chimps on the property.
Save the Chimps knows its current living quarters are not ideal. The floors of their large cages are concrete, and they don't make it outside much.
"We want them out on the island, socializing, grooming, and seeing no bars. So, obviously, this building is not our dream," said Save the Chimps veterinarian Dr. Jocelyn Bezner.
The non-profit needs about $800,000 to build a new facility for Timmy, Cheetah and others with special needs.
It's a facility that would be two-stories, with windows, grass floors, hills, climbers and tunnels leading to their cages.
"The more space we can give them and the more opportunities for them to be active, the better," said Feuerstein.
The chimp experts believe it would make all the difference in the world of these animals.
"We have an obligation, I feel, to care for them for their entire lives and provide them with the retirement they deserve because they endured a lot in research labs in the name of human health and science," said Feuerstein.
Click here to contribute to the Save the Chimps special needs facility.
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