(CHIMPS/ANIMAL TESTING) Kitty, a female chimpanzee who was rescued from a life of laboratory experiments, died on December 6 in the comfort of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, where she’s been living since 1997.

Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), announced Kitty’s passing on his blog last Friday.

At the age of 10, Kitty was taken from the wild and sent to the United States where she was used to breed chimps for laboratory experiments at the Coulston Foundation biomedical research facility. While in the breeding program Kitty gave birth to 14 chimpanzees, with 10 of them taken from her immediately following their birth.

Kitty’s offspring included Dar es Salaam, who was one of five chimps that learned American Sign Language at Central Washington University. Dar lived out his life at the university’s Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, until he died of cardiac arrest last year.

Kitty has been at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch since 1997.
Kitty the chimoanzee died at the age of 51 on Friday. Photo Credit: HSUS

During Kitty’s stay at the Black Beauty Ranch, the United States’ largest animal sanctuary, she became matriarch of a group and found companionship with Nim Chimpsky, an ape famous for his part in a controversial study that tried to teach primates language.

Pacelle described Kitty as, “an expert at disassembling whatever contraption was designed to engage her.”

Kitty also exhibited strong maternal skills, joining a foster-mother program that tasked her with rearing inexperienced chimps.

Kitty’s death comes during a year filled with hope for laboratory chimps, after the federal government pledged to transfer hundreds of them to sanctuaries during the coming months.

Kitty passed away at the age of 51, which is relatively old for a chimp in captivity.

Global Animal wishes the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch well, and our thoughts go out to the loss of a great chimpanzee.

— Anthony Armentano, exclusive to Global Animal