SYLMAR (CBSLA) — Because they don’t monkey around when it comes to wildfires, dozens of chimpanzees who still live at the shuttered Wildlife Waystation took part in fire drills recently.
Video posted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife showed how staff practiced coaxing the 32 chimpanzees still living at the animal rescue facility out of their cages through evacuation tunnels and into smaller transport cages that can be loaded on to trucks in the event of a wildfire, like the Bobcat Fire that burned uncomfortably closed over the summer.
“This exercise will make an evacuation much quicker, and greatly reduce the need to sedate the chimps in the event of a relocation,” the video’s narrator said.
Evacuation hasn’t been needed in 2020, but has been necessary in previous wildfires.
The Wildlife Waystation closed in the summer of 2019 and was taken over by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Most of the animals that had been housed at the facility have been relocated to new homes, but chimp relocation has proved to be more difficult because of the cost of their care and new homes. Fundraising efforts to care for these chimpanzees continues at http://www.primatesanctuaries.org.