Connect with us

Cute Animals

Chimpanzee Sees the Sky For the First Time After 29 Years in Captivity [Video]



Quick Smiles:

  • Vanilla, a 29-year-old chimpanzee, experiences the vast, open blue sky for the first time in her life after being rescued from a biomedical research lab and finding a new home at Save The Chimps’ sanctuary in Florida.
  • The heartwarming video shared by the organization captures Vanilla’s joyful leaps and awestruck gaze as she embraces her newfound freedom, under the guidance of Dwight, the alpha male chimp who looks after the sanctuary’s residents.
  • Having spent her early years in captivity, Vanilla is now thriving in her natural habitat, spending her days foraging for food, swinging on ropes, and even attending painting classes, embodying the transformative power of empathy and dedication towards our fellow creatures.

It’s one small step for a chimpanzee, one giant leap for chimp-kind!

The heartwarming moment of a chimpanzee named Vanilla experiencing the vast, blue sky for the first time after a life spent in captivity has taken the internet by storm.

This adorable journey from shadows to sunlight, shared by Save The Chimps, is not just a milestone for Vanilla but a testament to the tireless efforts of animal rights activists globally.

Vanilla, a 29-year-old female chimp, has had quite a journey from a biomedical research lab in New York to the sunny skies of Florida.

After years of living within confined spaces, her first encounter with the open expanse was truly a sight to behold.

The video clip released by the organization captures Vanilla’s awestruck gaze and her innocent leaps of joy in the freedom that is her new home at Save the Chimps’ Florida sanctuary.

YouTube screenshot

The video is brimming with powerful moments that tug at heartstrings. One such moment is when Vanilla, in a mix of hesitation and excitement, walks into the open arms of Dwight, the alpha male chimp who takes care of the sanctuary’s residents.

Dan Mathews from Save The Chimps, describing this heartfelt interaction, said, “It is the first time she was outdoors with more than 10 feet of fence around her on all sides from top to bottom,” adding that Vanilla was “clearly elated to have suddenly found freedom.”

For Vanilla and her sister Shake, who joined the chimp family at the sanctuary after years in captivity, freedom tastes as sweet as it sounds.

It’s a poignant shift from their early years, marked by cold laboratory walls and little sunlight.

The sisters now have the opportunity to explore, play, and engage with other chimps, truly experiencing the essence of chimp-hood.

Born into captivity for HIV and hepatitis research, Vanilla has had a life filled with trials and tribulations.

The biomedical research lab, heavily criticized by animal rights activists, is now closed.


Following the closure, Vanilla and Shake were relocated to the Wildlife Waystation, another refuge which has also since shut down.

From there, they found their way to Save The Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida, where they were introduced to various chimp groups until finding the right fit.

Vanilla has now adapted beautifully to her new surroundings.

Her days are spent foraging for food, swinging on ropes, and even attending painting classes.

Mathews beautifully summarizes her newfound joy, saying, “She seems glad to have her own world, to finally have the closest thing to a natural habitat. She is embracing it.”

Vanilla’s story isn’t just a heartwarming tale of a chimp finding her home; it’s a reminder of the transformative power of empathy and dedication.


As Vanilla leaps into her future with wide eyes and open arms, we hope her story inspires more of us to help our fellow creatures escape from their own shadows and into the sunlight.