By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Six chimpanzees who once called the Wildlife Waystation home are settling in Monday at their new digs at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Washington state.

Lucky, Cy, Dora, Gordo, Rayne and Terry – who have been dubbed the “Lucky Six” – hit the road Friday and arrived safely in Washington on Saturday.

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“It’s just thrilling to see ‘The Lucky Six’ set off towards their new sanctuary home, where a brighter future awaits them,” Erika Fleury, program director for the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.

(credit: Wildlife Waystation)

Moving day was a painstaking affair – each chimpanzee was placed in a large cage, which were loaded onto a transport trailer provided by Project Chimps, a Georgia sanctuary. They arrived Saturday at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, where they will live out their retirement years on 90 acres of farm and forested land.

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Relocation was made possible by the Chimpanzees in Need fundraising campaign to rescue dozens of chimpanzees who were left behind at the Sylmar-area animal sanctuary, which closed in 2019. Wildlife Waystation was once home to a wide variety of species, including bears, tigers, lions, monkeys, apes, and more, but was closed in 2019 due to repeated damage from wildfires and financial challenges.

The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife stepped in to relocate the animals, except for the chimpanzees, most of whom were retired from biomedical research. Nine of the original 42 chimpanzees were relocated, and one died of natural causes. An estimated $5.8 million was needed to rehome the 32 chimpanzees left behind.

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