Research involving chimpanzees in the US is finally winding down, which means hundreds of chimps will soon be freed from their laboratory confinements and relocated to more natural surroundings. Of the 450 or so chimps currently under government control, a vast majority are set to be retired to federal sanctuaries, unlikely to face any further research experiments — at least the type they've become accustomed to.
Up to 50 of the animals may be need to stay behind for future lab work, however, with scientists admitting that chimpanzee research has become an increasingly controversial topic that must be handled delicately. "There are cases in which chimpanzees are and will continue to be useful," Alice Ra’anan of the American Physiological Society recently told Wired. "You can set an ethical bright line, but there may be a disease where people suffer as a consequence. Or you can set a scientific bright line, and at some point you shake your head and say, ‘Do we really want to do this?’"
Thankfully as you'll see in the video below, some chimps have already made their exit. More than a hundred are set to arrive at Chimp Haven in Louisiana, though the clip also makes clear that, after spending years without ever venturing outside, many will need time (and perhaps more direct assistance) to become acclimated with their natural habitat.