The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Francis Collins, has released a statement today regarding the retirement of their aging Alamogordo chimpanzees. The full statement can be read here: https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/statement-nih-chimpanzees-alamogordo-primate-facility.
The Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) is now down to 44 geriatric chimpanzees. According to the NIH statement, "a panel of NIH veterinarians, independent of the three primate facilities, Chimp Haven, and the NIH Chimpanzee Program, evaluated the remaining 44 APF chimpanzees and advised NIH that it would be a serious risk to the chimpanzees’ health to move them." According to this determination, the remaining chimpanzees will be retired in place.
NABR President Matthew Bailey commends this decision, "The National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) is pleased that NIH leadership has decided not to move the 44 chimpanzees housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility to a different location. The NIH’s decision is in the best interest of these elderly and frail animals. The chimpanzees will live out their days in Alamogordo, where they have comfortable indoor/outdoor living conditions in primadomes that allow them to climb and swing, and where they have forged close bonds with their caretakers and social groups. NABR applauds the NIH for taking a leadership role in the well-being of the Alamagordo chimpanzees which have contributed much to the medical community’s understanding of disease."