Chimp art contest to show importance of sanctuaries

Art by Ripley. (Photo courtesy Center for Great Apes)

Cheetah is what you might call a "temperamental artist."

Before being rescued and brought to "Save the Chimps" sanctuary in Florida, Cheetah lived alone as a laboratory test subject for 13 years.

Now in the safety of the sanctuary, he's become passionate about painting.

“He’s very intense and you can't take the canvas away until Cheetah is done when he says he's done,” says Jo Sullivan, Save the Chimps Executive Director.

He's even entered a painting in a nationwide chimp art contest.

Competition is fierce: he's up against Brent from Chimp Haven, Jenny from Primate Rescue Center, Ripley from the Center for Great Apes, Patti from Chimps, Inc. and Jamie from Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest who, by the way, has an interesting technique.

“She not only used paint but also objects around her, which included sunflower seeds and she incorporated those into the painting,” says Diana Goodrich, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest director of outreach.

The Humane Society of the United States is hosting the contest to showcase the importance of chimpanzee sanctuaries.

“It's a way of educating the public that there are chimpanzees in laboratories- there are these great sanctuaries out there who provide care for them and we're at a point where government has decided to retire over 300 chimps,” says Kathleen Conlee, Humane Society of the United States vice president of animal research issues.

Renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall will select her favorite artist for a $5,000 prize.

The public can vote online to select the top winner of a $10,000 grant.

The contest ends on Thursday at 5 p.m. To cast your vote, click here.

The winners will be announced on August 29th.