ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FL--It's the end of a 37-hour journey from a former New Mexico research lab for Bubba and his friends.
The 10 chimps arrived Thursday at their new home in St. Lucie County. The Save the Chimps facility west of Fort Pierce is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world.
"The chimps are quiet, they sleep, they watch. They're so fascinated by everything going by," said Dr. Jocelyn Bezner, a veterinarian who accompanied the chimps.
Dr. Bezner said one big motivator for the primate passengers was French fries.
"Everyone settles in and eats them differently. Some eat one at a time, others put the whole thing in mouth and want more," said Dr. Bezner.
Save the Chimps is closed to the public, so these former space veterans, pets, and entertainers can retire in peace.
Among the chimps that made this trip was Bobby. He has special needs and needs special attention.
Sanctuary Director Jen Feuerstein said, "He sadly injures himself. He was so traumatized by years in research he bites his arm. We're trying to make him stop that behavior."
Thursday's migration is the third of Bobby's family group. The hope is that his family will ease the transition.
"They can see each other in the building. They know they're here. There's a lot of excitement when they see each other," said Feuerstein.
After a day of getting acclimated, the new arrivals will get their first run of the islands. Many have never stepped on grass before.
There are now 187 chimps in St. Lucie County and another 90 in New Mexico waiting for their trip to the retirement home.
Copyright 2010 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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