Hercules and Leo are used in locomotion research at Stony Brook University as part of efforts to understand how humans' ancestors began to walk upright on two legs. Little is known about their quality of life or whether they are even aware of each others' presence.
The move follows an appeal filed last year for the chimps in a Brooklyn court. An appellate court dismissed NhRP's appeal, but the organization is not giving up.
"They have spent their lives in laboratory cages," said NhRP president Steven M. Wise in a release. "Now they deserve their day in court and their release to Save the Chimps in Ft. Pierce, Florida, where they will spend the rest of their lives living with dozens of other chimpanzees in an environment as close to Africa as can be had in North America."
Two other chimps have been the plaintiffs in similar lawsuits: Tommy, a chimp living alone in a cage on a used trailer lot in Gloversville, New York, and Kiko, who's being held on private property in Niagara Falls, New York. Appeals have been filed in each case.