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Originally published Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 12:57 PM

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Group to move 2 remaining CWU chimps to Canada

The two remaining chimpanzees at a language center at Central Washington University in Ellensburg will be moved to a sanctuary in Canada, the university and a nonprofit group announced Wednesday.

The Associated Press

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. —

The two remaining chimpanzees at a language center at Central Washington University in Ellensburg will be moved to a sanctuary in Canada, the university and a nonprofit group announced Wednesday.

The Friends of Washoe, which owns the chimps at the university's Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, will move the primates as soon as the necessary permits can be acquired from the Canadian government, chairman Greg Beach told the Ellensburg Daily Record.

The decision to move the chimpanzees from the center was made due to the chimps' advancing age and the declining chimp population there, he said.

"This move ends a remarkable project that included landmark research in communication and language and starts a new approach to this field at CWU," said a joint announcement from CWU and Friends of Washoe. "We celebrate the privilege we have had to know Washoe, Moja, Dar, Tatu and Loulis."

The institute is a sanctuary for chimpanzees that use American Sign Language to communicate with each other and humans. The center focused on education and research into communication and language, with regular symposiums, called Chimposiums, which were open to the public to learn more about primates.

Central Washington University owns the facility and began reviewing its missions following the November death of Dar, 36.

Loulis, 35, and Tatu, 37, are the last two chimps there.

Many captive male chimpanzees die in their mid-30s, though some can live years longer. Chimpanzees are also highly social animals that ideally should live in groups of 7 to 25 animals, Beach said.

The chimps will be moved to the Fauna Foundation Sanctuary in Quebec, Canada when the necessary permits are acquired. Beach said the move is permanent and that Friends of Washoe doesn't plan to bring more chimpanzees to Ellensburg.

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Information from: Daily Record, http://www.kvnews.com

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