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Yerkes Donates Five Chimpanzees to Riverside Discovery Center

May 10, 2019

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Lisa Newbern, 404-727-7709,

The Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, has donated five chimpanzees to the Riverside Discovery Center (RDC) in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. This is the center’s third donation of chimpanzees.  

The 23-acre Riverside Discovery Center, which was established in 1950, is home to more than 200 animals representing more than 65 species, including big cats, bears and nonhuman primates. Approximately 40,000 guests visit this Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)–accredited zoo annually.

“We are pleased to announce another donation of chimpanzees, which involved the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, the Riverside Discovery Center and the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan,” says R. Paul Johnson, MD, Yerkes director. The Riverside Discovery Center is one of 30 U.S. zoos that participates in the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP). “This collaborative process has resulted in a newly renovated home for the five chimpanzees and the expansion of RDC’s popular chimpanzee exhibit, which opened in 1992,” Johnson continues.

In preparation for the arrival of the chimpanzees, RDC updated the housing areas, added more climbing structures, elevated platforms and hammocks, and installed additional food chutes and mounds, all which facilitate species-typical behaviors.

“We are excited to welcome our zoo’s newest residents and look forward to helping our guests get to know each one of them,” says Anthony Mason, RDC president and CEO. “Opening this expanded exhibit is just one component of our master plan to support conservation, education, discovery and recreation,” he continues.

Critical to this donation was the Chimpanzee SSP, which helps guide the management of the chimpanzee population.

"The Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan is pleased to have worked with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center to find a new home for these five chimpanzees at Riverside Discovery Center. Our continuing collaborative relationship helps ensure the long-term health and well-being of this group of chimpanzees,” says Judy McAuliffe, Chimpanzee SSP program leader.

Dedicated to discovering causes, preventions, treatments and cures, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (NPRC), part of Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, is fighting diseases and improving human health and lives worldwide. The center, one of only seven NPRCs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds, is supported by more than $74 million in research funding (all sources, fiscal year 2018). Yerkes researchers are making landmark discoveries in microbiology and immunology; neurologic diseases; neuropharmacology; behavioral, cognitive, and developmental neuroscience; and psychiatric disorders. Since 1984, the center has been fully accredited by the AAALAC International, regarded as the gold seal of approval for laboratory animal care.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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