Chimp Transfer Delayed; Perhaps For Two Years

Alamogordo – Some 186 chimpanzees will remain at a federal facility in New Mexico for now.

The Albuquerque Journal reported in a copyright story Friday that the National Institutes of Health informed Gov. Bill Richardson on Thursday the chimps will not be transferred to a San Antonio, Texas, facility until the National Academy of Sciences reviews policies on using chimpanzees in biomedical research.

Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia says that's expected to postpone the transfer for about two years.

A federal contract covering the chimps expires next year. The NIH proposed sending them to Texas to be used in research aimed at finding a hepatitis C vaccine.

Animal welfare activists protested the transfer.

The chimps have been free from testing at the Alamogordo Primate Facility at Holloman Air Force Base since 2001.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.