Article by Kristina Pepelko - On Nov. 11, 1979, Scarlett was born into a life of research at the Coulston Foundation. Not long after her birth, she was snatched from her mother, Cherry, in order to be raised for testing purposes. At just three years old, Scarlett was moved to another research lab, but returned to Coulston 13 years later to endure the same fate as her mother – a life of a breeding chimp. According to Save the Chimps, she “lived along in a small and barren cage in a building dubbed ‘the Dungeon.’” During her second tenure at the Coulston Foundation, Scarlett had two children named Jude and Joey. However, both babies were taken from her almost immediately, allowing her no time to soothe or care for the children she had spent months preparing for.
Unlike other chimps who suffered in labs until their deaths, Scarlett received the opportunity to be released when the Coulston Foundation closed its doors in 2002. Save the Chimps came right in for the rescue, but found her “depressed and withdrawn” and also learned that she has epilepsy.
Thankfully, with the help of kind veterinarians and unconditional love and care from sanctuary staff, Scarlett has flourished, becoming a “a smart and confident chimpanzee, a grande dame, with a sense of humor,” Save the Chimps veterinarian Jocelyn Bezner tells OGP.
In 2008, Scarlett’s resilience was put to the test yet again when she “became temporarily paralyzed due to an unusual spinal injury … [which] may have been the result of a seizure,” Save the Chimps reports.
Scarlett again managed to pull through this great challenge, inspiring all with “her determination and spirit.”
Since her temporarily paralysis, Scarlett has been enjoying a life of leisure in the Florida sun with other five chimps in her social group. Together, they share in the joys of freedom each and every day.
To help former lab chimps like Scarlett, consider making a donation to Save the Chimps or symbolically adopting one of their residents (even Scarlett herself!).
Lead image source: Save the Chimps
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And a VERY BIG Thank You to Save the Chimps for your invaluable work, saving the chimps.