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Former Las Vegas Zoo chimpanzee has a girlfriend

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 10, 2016

Before it was closed, the Las Vegas Zoo boasted a lone chimpanzee as its "star attraction." 

That chimp, whose name is Terry, got a new lease on life after a Contact 13 investigation led to the zoo's shut down.

Now, we have a new video that's gone viral of Terry the chimp and his special new friend.

Three years after the zoo shut down, the property on North Rancho still sits empty. 

Terry the chimpanzee spent almost 18 years there behind glass in solitary confinement. 

In the newly released video, you can see why those who advocated for Terry's freedom say it was just plain cruel to keep him caged alone for so long.

The touching video shows the two primates holding hands and refusing to let go. 

Jeannie--rescued from a biomedical research lab--and Terry--freed from a solitary existence at the Las Vegas Zoo. 

Contact 13 was there when Terry left Las Vegas to begin his cross-country journey to Save the Chimps sanctuary in Florida. 

Though he's been there since late 2013, he's still being slowly introduced to new chimp families. 

Last week, he met Jeannie and they clearly became fast friends on their very first day together. 

Even when Terry lies down, he immediately reaches back out to Jeannie.

"Chimpanzee's are incredibly intelligent and social beings," said Lisa Wathne, a regulatory specialist for the Humane Society of the United States. "It is downright cruel to keep a chimpanzee alone and no respectable zoo would do that."

The Humane Society of the United States participated in a Contact 13 investigation that led to the zoo's closure in 2013 after the entire zookeeping staff quit to protest substandard care and conditions. 

We spoke to Zoo Director Pat Dingle about Terry in 2011.

"There's no way that animal is leaving here," Dingle said. "To uproot him and send him off to some unknown place, that would be torture."

Darcy: Sending him to a sanctuary would be torture?
Pat: Would be cruel.  Would absolutely be cruel to him.

The new video of Terry proves he's thriving in his Florida home... Free to roam and free to reach out whenever he needs a friend.