Our crew traveled to remote Liberia to discover Monkey Island, an area inhabited solely by former lab-tested chimpanzees who survived disease and two civil wars. As part of the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research, also known as Vilab II, the lab produced important breakthroughs in developing treatments for a variety of ailments, including hepatitis.
The lab, which was funded by the New York Blood Center, shut down in the mid-2000s following growing pressure from activists looking to end the use of chimpanzees for research. Now the lab's apes live on a series of islands that were originally set aside for their retirement. In this documentary, made possible by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, our team treks deep into Liberia to visit the island and investigate the legacy of the researchers who called it home.