Second Chance Chimpanzee Refuge Liberia cares for more than 60 chimpanzees in Liberia, Africa. Most of the chimpanzees at the sanctuary were used in invasive research, many of them for decades.

In the past, chimpanzees were considered ideal biomedical research subjects because they share more than 98% of their DNA with humans. However, ethical concerns mounted as growing evidence of chimpanzee intelligence and complex social skills became known and scientific data proved that chimpanzees are not ideal research subjects; as a result, labs experimenting on them began to close.

Chimp in sanctuary in Liberia
Jamie Linder/The HSUS

Their heartbreaking history

In 1974, a U.S.-based research organization set up a laboratory in Liberia, Africa and began experimenting on chimpanzees. For the next three decades, more than 400 chimps were held in barren laboratory cages while being used for painful and invasive hepatitis B and blood cleansing experiments.

In the early 2000’s, the laboratory began phasing out experiments on chimpanzees and started moving them to nearby islands. The islands did not provide sufficient food or fresh water, so the chimpanzees were reliant on humans to survive. There was no infrastructure built on the islands to support the chimpanzees’ care before they were moved there.

In 2015, funding from the laboratory was withdrawn and HSI and the HSUS stepped in to provide emergency care to the more than 60 chimpanzees who were still alive. Since then, HSI Liberia has taken on responsibility for the lifetime care of these animals, some of whom could live for another 50+ years.

Chimps in a sanctuary in Liberia

Our work at Second Chance

Our highly qualified, dedicated staff is responsible for the chimpanzees’ care. We deliver a fresh and nutritious diet of fruits and vegetables twice daily to the islands and provide veterinary treatment. We have also been able to acquire much-needed equipment, including sturdy new water towers that provide constant fresh drinking water to the chimpanzees. Read the latest updates on Facebook

In memoriam: Joseph Thomas, the chimps’ dedicated caretaker

One brave chimp’s story shows the many threats facing the species today

Watch a video of life at the sanctuary

From animal researcher to animal advocate


Chimp in sanctuary in Liberia
Jamie Linder/The HSUS

After enduring years of suffering at the hands of humans in the name of research, these chimps deserve to live peacefully in a natural habitat worthy of their intelligence and social skills. The organization that used the chimpanzees in research has provided approximately half of the estimated funding needed for the chimps’ lifetime care. However, these animals are dependent on us to raise the remaining funds, and we are grateful for any help you can give. Learn more about our work with them.


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