The National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that the last 50 chimpanzees set aside for federal medical research will be retired, NBC News reported.
The chimpanzees, which are kept at three facilities in Texas and New Mexico, will be gradually sent to Chimp Haven sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana.
No one's applied to use the chimpanzees for almost three years and it appears there is no pressing need to study the apes, the closest genetic relative to humans, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins said.
"There will be no more federally supported research done on chimpanzees. The benefits of that appear to be negligible," Collins told reporters in a telephone briefing.