Warning: this video may make you cry.

Like prisoners emerging from a lifetime behind bars, a group of chimpanzees step blinking into the sunlight with what appears for all the world to be a wave and a smile.

And they have much to be joyful about. For this is the first time they have felt grass under their feet and breathed fresh air for 30 years.

Though a few of the chimps were born in captivity, most were kidnapped from African jungles as babies and flown to Europe, where they were locked in metal laboratory cages to be used in a long series of experiments.

Horrifyingly, their mothers - who would usually raise them for six years - were all slaughtered.

The aim of the firm that bought them was to find a vaccine to combat Aids. Because chimps share 99per cent of the gene code of man, they seemed natural subjects for study.

But that meant they suffered terrible cruelties in the years that followed, including being injected with the HIV virus.

Hooked up to machines and pumped full of chemicals, they were truly prisoners of utter despair. With no stimulation, no nurturing love and no hope, many were driven to the brink of madness and sometimes beyond.

But their ordeal finally ended on Tuesday when the 38 surviving chimps were released into a £3million sanctuary in Austria, allowing them to feel the nurturing contact of their fellow chimps after years of being separated by bars and bullet-proof glass.

Now, Susi, David, Clyde, Lingoa, Moritz and all the others will be free to enjoy the remainder of their lives together, thanks to the unstinting efforts of a 59-year-old conservationist named Michael Aufhauser.

The founder of an animal charity that operates in four European countries, he oversaw the construction of the sanctuary outside Vienna, which is built on the site of a defunct safari park.

‘Who knows what scars they carry on the inside,’ says Mr Aufhauser.

‘They are all traumatised to greater or lesser degrees. Two of them died before the reserve was finished, but at least those that are left will have a quality of life that was unthinkable when they were prisoners of the lab.

‘Some chimpanzees were infected with the HIV virus. Of course, they became HIV positive. But none of them, not here in Austria or anywhere else in the world, developed full-blown Aids. Therefore, the programme was useless. It achieved absolutely nothing.’

Several years ago, the giant American pharmaceutical company Baxter took over the Austrian laboratory, and immediately announced it had no intention of continuing the testing programme.

More than that, its bosses decided the firm had a moral responsibility to improve the life of the chimps, who can live to the age of 50 or 60.

They were moved to an indoor shelter in a safari park, but when it went into liquidation in 2004 the building of an outdoor sanctuary was stopped and the animals were forced to spend several more years in cages.

But no longer. ‘At last,’ says Mr Aufhauser. ‘They will have some dignity and some fun for what remains of their lives.’


Responses to "Heartwarming Video Of The Day: Chimps Go Outside For First Time In 30 Years "

  1. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful. Why is there a picture of a gorilla included?

  2. Anonymous says:

    .. it break my heart how cruel we humans are ... Thank you for your help ..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for helping ..and for sharing the moment. Made me cry.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Poignant ~ heartwrenching....This man has earned his angel wings

  5. Anonymous says:

    made me cry. i think the part where they hugged in happiness and joy did it!! amazing, nobody can say animals dont feel things like humans do xxx

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree, the hug was beautiful, so sad to read what happened to them, glad they are semi free now and can have a better life . Thank you all involved in , this project what a blessing you are

  7. Asoka says:

    Yes, this is a beautiful thing, and I am glad that they are finally happy. The gentleman who brought this about deserves huge credit. May all of the chimps be blessed for the res of their lives.

    It would also be nice to think that the previous company that did all the wickedness to them would be held accountable, and people prosecuted for what they did. Of course, in the twisted world we live in, there aren't even laws to prevent this kind of thing, let alone bring those responsible to justice.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So beautiful and amazing!!! It made me cry. God Bless them!!!

  9. Yes, thank you to those who created this experience for those poor chimps. I am so glad they got this chance to enjoy life. The whole piece is so touching to watch and those moments when they hug each other even more so. Thank you thank you thank you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    what a beautiful thing that was done for these special creatures . it made me cry with happiness that they are now free of the cruelty they endured . thanks for sharing . god bless

  11. Anonymous says:

    It made me cry so lovely. Thanks for the people you is giving a second chance to all of them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Heart warming

  13. Anonymous says:

    This video should be a good lesson to anyone who thinks that animals do not have feelings or emotions. It is a tragedy that any pharmaceutical/research company or anyone would use a defenseless animal as a test subject. I am sure that there are a lot of people that would argue this point; i.e. how else would we discover cures for illness. This is no excuse for what is being done to defenseless creatures. If humans are not used why would an animal be, after all we are all God's creatures? Thank you Mr. Aufhauser for being such a wonderful and caring human.

  14. Helena Frykstrand says:

    Helena Frykstrand säger: Hurra vad bra! Tack för din goda gärning!

  15. Unknown says:

    Child sex offenders should be the ones used instead of our defenceless animals..When the day comes that we can understand the laungage of all animals,I pray they forgive us..)O(

  16. Anonymous says:

    To see them like this, made me cry. What must went through there mind when they saw the outside for the first time. How can anybody be so cruel to those wonderful creatures. Thank you for helping them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    man is the enemy of its own planet

  18. Roberta Melick says:

    Every comment made above carries an important message. Most of all, thank you to Mr. Aufhauser and his team for allowing these creatures to finally have quality to their lives.

  19. Anonymous says:

    a very moving video I am happy to see them outside lets hope they get to go outside as much as they want. one poor fellow still a bit carful of what might be out there! lets hope for more good news for all.

  20. glad they are getting what they deserve. its called FREEDOM

  21. Anonymous says:

    the average human cares more about clothes than they do any kind of animal.

  22. Hanne says:

    so so heartwarming

  23. Anonymous says:

    Wonderfull video, brought tears to my eyes to see how at first they almost seemed to be afraid of "freedom" nobody, human or animal, should have to be afraid of freedom. Bu than i saw almost a smile on their face, i hope they will be happy and healthy for along time, enjoying their new FREEDOM ♥ ♥ ♥

  24. Anonymous says:

    We are an incredibly cruel species to do this to other living beings. Thankfully, some of us are decent enough to try to make up for the cruelty. No creature who lives on land should be afraid of the sun.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I feel like they went out there and were all thinking "Holy shit this is awesome we're free! ....... Ah fuck."

  26. Anonymous says:

    Just beautiful to see them emerging into freedom. So sad that they show such reluctance and caution, it shows what they must have endured in the past. Happy tears that they are free to enjoy their life.

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