First designated for medical research by the NYBC in 1974, the chimps were used for research for an incredible 30 years. After the experiments ended a decade ago, the NYBC funded the colonies' care through the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research - paying for caretakers like the one featured in the video to care for the abused animals.
But this spring, the NYBC decided to stop funding the chimp families' retirement - willingly leaving them to starve. The center "never had any obligation for [sic] care for the chimps, contractual or otherwise," NYBC spokeswoman Victoria O'Neill told the New York Times at the time.
The decision sparked visceral outrage within both the academic and activist communities: Jane Goodall penned an open letter condemning the NYBC's decision, which she called "completely shocking and unacceptable," and Duke primatologist Brian Hare told the New York Times, "Never, ever have I seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this."
Of the 200 chimps originally abandoned on the island, 66 are left, ranging from babies to a 41-year-old female. Some are blind and limping, suffering from the effects of age and decades of experimentation. When the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) rushed to the island to take up the burden dropped by the NYBC, they found the chimps had no source of fresh water.