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The top 11 animal stories of 2011

By: Russell McLendon on Dec. 27, 2011, 7:43 a.m.
12 of 13

Great ape escape

Medical research on chimpanzees is losing favor around the world, as seen most recently when the U.S. agreed to limit the use of chimps in medical studies. And when a group of chimps were released by a research lab in Austria earlier this year — marking the first time some had been outdoors in 30 years — they drew an outpouring of sympathy from the Internet.

The liberated chimps were taken to an animal sanctuary near Salzburg, where German TV station RTL filmed them timidly marveling at their new surroundings. "They hugged, they laughed," the sanctuary's founder told RTL. "Imagine, one is 30 years imprisoned in an elevator, and then suddenly the door opens."

Check out the video below: