A Louisiana university says all 220 chimpanzees at its research lab in New Iberia will be moving to a new sanctuary in north Georgia, in what appears to be a first for a non-federal lab.

A joint announcement Tuesday by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Project Chimps says the great apes will be moved to the sanctuary in Blue Ridge, Georgia, in social groups, starting in June and continuing over several years.

Project Chimps co-founder Sarah Baeckler (BEK-ler) Davis says it's the first time a non-federal research program has arranged to release all of its research chimps. Project Chimps is a nonprofit created to house the New Iberia chimps.

The Humane Society of the United States confirms that this is the first large-scale relocation from a non-federal lab.