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CJ the chimpanzee set to leave Las Vegas

CJ the chimpanzee set to leave Las Vegas

By Rikki Cheese. CREATED Aug 14, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- CJ the chimpanzee is hours away from meeting her new family at Chimps, Inc. in Bend, Oregon. The trip is being supervised by the animal sanctuary's director, Marla O'Donnell.

 "She's gonna fit in so well," O'Donnell said. "It's the social structure she's going to thrive in."

After a traumatic month that included two escapes, CJ is on her way to spend the rest of her life with seven other primates at the facility.

Lee Watkinson, one of CJ's caretakers, says the farewell is bittersweet.

"It's mostly sweet," Watkinson said. "It's going to be sweet to see her in the best place we could possibly imagine."

Watkinson and Timmi Derosa, CJ's caretakers, have also had a tough month.

On Monday, Clark County Animal Control officials cited Derosa for CJ's two escapes. But Watkinson says he and Derosa only wanted the best for Buddy and CJ. They rescued and raised the chimps, and always intended to send them to a sanctuary.

"Everyone is concerned about chimps when they see them on TV, but very few people actually take action and do anything about it," Watkinson said.

They are taking action at Chimps. Inc.. The nonprofit does more than just rescue.

O'Donnell says the chimps are deeply cared for and given to live fuller, more natural lives.

Rescuing chimps isn't cheap. O'Donnell says it costs about $1,800 per month, per primate, and they can live into their fifties. The nonprofit exists on donations.

Chimps, Inc. will track CJ's progress with a blog, on Facebook and on their website. 







Rikki Cheese

Rikki Cheese

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Rikki Cheese is currently an anchor and reporter for Action News.