KCBS_740CLE ELUM, Wash. (AP) — Sanctuaries around the country are preparing for an influx of retired private lab chimps, now that the federal government has stopped backing experiments on humankind’s closest relatives.

Their challenge will be finding the room and resources to house and rehabilitate the animals.

Diana Goodrich, co-director of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Washington state, says there isn’t enough space right now at the nation’s sanctuaries.

About 700 chimpanzees remain in government and private labs. The National Institutes of Health last month announced its final timeline for chimps in government custody. It said all 360 remaining animals will be transferred to Chimp Haven, a Louisiana sanctuary, by 2026.

Kathleen Conlee, who focuses on animal research issues at The Humane Society, says negotiations are underway for the 300 or so chimps in private laboratories.

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