Future uncertain for research chimps

About 160 chimpanzees of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s animal research facility in Central Texas face retirement and an uncertain future after the National Institutes of Health decided to end almost all medical research on chimpanzees.

Plans to move the retired chimps to a federal facility in Louisiana aren’t being well received by the center’s director, Chris Abee. He said the level of care is better at the research center and the move would upset the primates’ social groups.

The apes’ move to Louisiana won’t be immediate because the Chimp Haven facility needs to be expanded first. The NIH’s decision will affect about 50 employees at the Texas center that also has close to 2,000 other primates.

Chimp Haven is located in Keithville on 200 acres donated by residents of Caddo Parish.