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6 chimpanzees new to Houston Zoo now on exhibit

Wednesday - 12/4/2013, 12:36pm  ET

Sierra, right, opens a package as Kenya, left, watches during their public debut in the Onstead Foundation Chimpanzee Habitat at the Houston Zoo Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, in Houston. The two were are part of the six chimpanzees that were relocated to the zoo through the combined efforts of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Project ChimpCARE, the Houston Zoo, and Curtis and Bea Shepperson, the chimps’ owners. The Sheppersons had been under pressure from officials in the Mechanicsville, Virginia area to relocate the chimpanzees because of a recent escape and the lack of proper licenses. Today is Sierra's 14th birthday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON -- Six chimpanzees previously cared for by a Virginia couple have debuted at their new home -- the Houston Zoo.

The Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1cWTQoQ ) reports the animals went on display Tuesday.

The chimps formerly lived at the privately run Windy Oaks Animal Farm in Mechanicsville, Va. The chimpanzees were moved to Texas following the owner's unsuccessful attempt to obtain permits for all of them.

Curtis Shepperson had permits from Hanover County, Va., for several chimps. County officials discovered the permit lapse after some of the creatures escaped.

The animals, ranging in age from 9 to 17 years old, arrived at the Houston Zoo in late October and had been under quarantine.

Curator Beth Schaefer says the chimps seem to be getting used to their surroundings.


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