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To this day, the United States is the only developed country that continues to use chimpanzees in invasive laboratory research studies. However, times are changing and chimpanzee research is slowly on its way out.

Following the release of a 2011 National Institutes of Health (NIH) report, it was determined that chimpanzees were no longer necessary for biomedical research. The NIH followed up on the report by halting any new funding for chimp research. (Hooray!)

Not long after, the NIH announced in 2012,  that it would move all federally-owned chimps from the New Iberia Research Center to Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Ketihville, La. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) assisted with the move of over 100 former research chimps to the sanctuary by donating $500,000 to help cover care and facility expansion costs.

Today, all of the chimps from New Iberia are enjoying their freedom to the fullest every day – running outdoors, climbing trees, and making new friends.

Hit “play” on the video, courtesy of the HSUS, who was recently named a People’s Siler Winner in the Telly Awards, to see the moment when the former research chimps saw the sky for the very first time.

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Image source: Chimp Haven/Facebook