Down to Earth

Down to Earth: The Extinction Crisis –The Lucky 6

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In the latest episode of Down to Earth: The Extinction Crisis, NBC 7’s Dagmar Midcap documents the life and relocation of six chimpanzees dubbed, “The Lucky 6.”

In late June, Lucky, Cy, Dora, Gordo, Rayne and Terry –  the “Lucky 6” – were moved from their longtime home at the Wildlife Waystation in Sylmar, CA (East of Los Angeles) to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Washington state. The moving effort spanned over 30 hours of continuous effort, Dagmar and NBC 7 cameras followed the relocation from start to finish.

Wildlife Waystation was once home to a wide variety of species, including bears, tigers, lions, monkeys, apes, and chimpanzees, many of the chimpanzees were rescued from biomedical testing laboratories.  \However, after nearly 45 years of caring for nearly 77,000 animals, the Wildlife Waystation was forced to shut its doors in 2019 leaving nearly 500 animals in desperate need of new homes, including 42 chimpanzees from various backgrounds including, biomedical testing.

Finding new homes for any chimpanzee is not easy, they are extremely difficult to house. It’s also remarkably expensive to care for a chimpanzee and there are only a handful of accredited chimpanzee sanctuaries in the United States: The Center for Great apes in Florida, Chimp Haven in Louisiana, and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest who made room for our Lucky 6.

Animal advocates such as N.A.P.S.A worked day and night to raise the money to facilitate the relocation of “The Lucky 6.”

Actually, moving the chimpanzees was not easy either, it was a complicated process that involved many different organizations, which began on a Friday morning, and did not end until the chimpanzees arrived Saturday evening at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, where they will live out the rest of their lives on 90 acres of farm and forested land.

Twenty-six chimpanzees still remain at the Wildlife Waystation, as advocates work to raise the money to move them to other accredited sanctuaries.

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If you missed Down to Earth, The Extinction Crisis on NBC 7, catch up below:

In the first segment of “The Lucky 6,” Dagmar Midcap introduces us to Lucky, Cy, Dora, Terry, Rayne and Gordo, the Lucky 6 chimpanzees that are being relocated from Los Angeles to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Washington state. However, before we even get to the multi-step relocation process, Dagmar focuses on the chimps complicated back story, from being born into medical testing laboratories to finding a long-time home at the Wildlife Waystation in Los Angeles to why, after more than 20 years there, it’s imperative they find a new place to live the rest of their lives.
In the second segment of “The Lucky 6," Dagmar Midcap shows how challenges are navigated to complete the first step of the relocation process and get the chimpanzees started on their journey from Los Angeles to Washington state. The episode also looks at how one caregiver was instrumental in helping the chimpanzees survive horrible conditions n the medical labs before eventually finding a new home at Wildlife Waystation.
In the third segment of “The Lucky 6,” Dagmar Midcap details the final stages of the multi-day journey before arriving at Northwest Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Washington state. Then it’s the moment so many have worked so hard to achieve, releasing The Lucky 6 into their new home. The episode shows how the chimpanzees are adapting to their new environment and just how special of a facility this is.
In the fourth segment of “The Lucky 6,” Dagmar Midcap provides an update on how the chimpanzees are adjusting to life in their new sanctuary. Plus: We hear from legendary primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall about this relocation effort and provide information on how you help chimpanzees survive and thrive.
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