September 2, 2014
KEITHVILLE, La. (AP) - For the first time in their lives, four aging chimpanzees can go outside any time they want. They can walk on grass, clamber onto the platforms of a chimp-style jungle gym 20 feet high and see sky unbroken by steel bars. Their social circle has doubled.
They're among the first of 111 chimpanzees coming from a south Louisiana laboratory to Chimp Haven, the national sanctuary for chimpanzees retired from federal research.
The National Institutes of Health has recommended retiring another 300 of the chimps and sending them to the "national sanctuary system" - a system of one.
But there's a major money hurdle. When Chimp Haven was made the national sanctuary, Congress capped all spending on the project at $30 million. That cap will be hit this year.