NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Center for Research Resources

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
Monday, September 30, 2002
9:00 a.m. ET

Contact:
Kathy Kaplan
NCRR Communications Director
(301) 435-0888

NIH Funding Establishes a Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Bethesda, Maryland —The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today the award of a contract to Chimp Haven, Inc., a private, non-profit organization, to establish and operate a chimpanzee sanctuary. The sanctuary will provide lifetime care for Federally owned or supported chimpanzees that are no longer needed for biomedical research. The contractor will maintain high standards for quality care and ensure state-of-the-art treatment of the chimpanzees.

The ten-year, cost-sharing contract was awarded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of NIH. Over the term of the contract, NCRR will provide approximately $19 million in total costs, and Chimp Haven will contribute approximately $4 million toward direct costs. Chimp Haven was selected for the contract through a competitive, technical review process conducted by a group of outside experts in the fields of nonhuman primate management, behavioral sciences, and veterinary medical care.

“NCRR takes very seriously its responsibility for the health and welfare of research animals,” said Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis, director of NCRR. “With this contract, our goal is to ensure that the highest level of humane care is provided to these animals, which have contributed to biomedical research. We are pleased that a contractor such as Chimp Haven has undertaken this important task and know from our interactions with them that they will show compassion for these chimpanzees and will ensure that the animals receive quality care and treatment.”

Chimp Haven, Inc. will construct the new sanctuary near Shreveport, Louisiana, on land donated by county government. Separate from the contract funding, NCRR also will award a $5 million grant to Chimp Haven to support construction costs. The construction, which is expected to be completed in Spring 2004, will initially provide housing in a free-ranging environment for approximately 75 chimpanzees.

No invasive biomedical research will be permitted at the sanctuary; yet, NCRR and Chimp Haven have agreed that the sanctuary will be periodically inspected by the USDA and will comply with animal welfare regulations.

More chimpanzees may need to be transferred from research facilities to the sanctuary environment, but additional facilities will be needed to accommodate them. Accordingly, Chimp Haven is authorized to either expand its sanctuary facility or to serve as a primary contractor to additional qualified sanctuary sites to be maintained by subcontractors. The sanctuary system will operate under standards established jointly by an NCRR advisory panel and the Chimp Haven Board of Directors. Both groups are composed of individuals with broad expertise in areas that relate to the operation of a chimpanzee sanctuary. Once developed, the sanctuary’s operating standards will be made available for public comment before being implemented.

A sanctuary system to provide for the lifetime care of retired research chimpanzees was mandated by The Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act of December 2000. The contract between NCRR and Chimp Haven addresses the specific requirements of the CHIMP Act (Public Law 106-551).

To contact the Chimp Haven Communications Office, call: Karen Allen at 703-567-4978 or 318-425-0002.

NCRR is the nation’s leading Federal sponsor of resources that enable advances in many areas of biomedical research. NCRR support provides the scientific research community with access to a diverse array of biomedical research technologies, instrumentation, specialized basic and clinical research facilities, mammalian and non-mammalian animal models, genetic stocks, and biomaterials such as cell lines, tissues, and organs. Publications, including fact sheets and other materials, are available on the NCRR website at www.ncrr.nih.gov.