May 3, 2016 02:09 PM

UL Lafayette, in concert with a nonprofit group called Project Chimps, has announced plans to relocate 220 retired research chimps from the university’s New Iberia Research Center to a new sanctuary in northern Georgia. A press release on the agreement says the deal has been in the works for more than two years. The NIRC ceased research on the primates — the largest population of research chimps in the United States — last year.

The chimps will be transferred in social groups to the 236-acre facility in Blue Ridge, Ga., beginning in June. UL will also contribute funding toward their care at the sanctuary.

“Project Chimps is the appropriate partner for our chimpanzees. We share many values. I believe that for the rest of their lives, our chimpanzees will be provided with the high-quality care they’ve been accustomed to at NIRC,” says Ramesh Kolluru, vice president of Research at UL, in the release announcing the partnership.