As thanks for their years of contributions to humankind through their use in biomedical research, some chimps will be guests of honor at a retirement party this spring.

Set to break ground on May 30 is Chimp Haven (, a 200-acre chimpanzee sanctuary in Shreveport, La., which is slated to hold about 200 chimps retired from medical testing. The warm, moist climate of Louisiana is expected to provide a natural environment conducive to monkeying around; the chimps will also be able to interact.

During the 1980s, chimps were in high demand as the model organisms of choice to study HIV. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) began an extensive breeding program to meet the testing demands. Once it was discovered that chimps could carry the virus, often without deadly consequences, labs suddenly became stuck with an excess of chimps, many of whom weren't even used in studies. When...

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