A new report says that former research chimpanzees should be moved to retirement sanctuaries, unless such a move will harm them, NPR reports.
In 2013, the US National Institutes of Health announced that about 300 research chimpanzees would be retiring and moving to a sanctuary. At that time, the agency retained about 50 chimps for biomedical studies that met certain criteria, but then in 2015 said all its remaining research chimps would be retiring and moving to a sanctuary once there was space.
NPR says that the plan generated some concern about moving chimpanzees, many of which are elderly or frail, away from a familiar environment. The new report from a working group of the NIH's Council of Councils says NIH-owned and NIH-supported chimpanzees should be relocated to the federal sanctuary unless moving them would shorten their lives. The report notes that deciding to relocate chimpanzees is a complex decision based on not only space in the sanctuary, but also the chimps' health, behavior, social grouping, and welfare.
The report also says that NIH needs more information about its chimps and that the sending and receiving facilities should better share data and expertise.
NPR adds that the working group is presenting its findings to the Council of Councils today and that that group will then provide its own recommendations to the NIH.