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Project Chimps

North Georgia welcomes a new type of retiree—chimpanzees

Soon, as many as 300 chimpanzees will climb trees, drink smoothies, and play with toy trucks and stuffed bears in their version of retirement on a 236-acre spread about 10 miles from the town of Blue Ridge.

If the Yerkes Center retires its chimpanzees, where will they go?

Chimpanzees have a sense of fair play. They feel empathy; a chimp will yawn when another does. They cooperate, and after a fight, they seek to reconcile. These insights—that chimpanzees possess an innate morality once thought to be uniquely human—emerged in part from studies conducted at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University. But such findings led to an uneasy question: If chimpanzees are so much like us, should we experiment on them at all?

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