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Government May Give Captive Chimps Endangered Status

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US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering righting a wrong that has been in effect since 1990. While wild chimpanzees have been listed as endangered and given the accompanying protection of that label, captive chimps have only been listed as threatened. In good news for the captive primates, that soon might change. The government organization is now taking public comments as they consider relabeling the captive primates as endangered.

US Fish and Wildlife Service writes on their website, “The rule proposed today would correct this inconsistency after the Service determined that the ESA does not allow for captive-held animals to be assigned a separate legal status from their wild counterparts.”

A 2010 petition from a variety of animal protection groups including The Humane Society of the United States and The Jane Goodall Institute helped to inspire this change of heart. Dr. Jane Goodall said about the potential revision, “I was so pleased to hear about the proposed rule. This is exceptional news for all chimpanzees and for all the petitioners, especially the Humane Society of the United States, who have worked so hard on this issue. This decision gives me hope that we truly have begun to understand that our attitudes toward treatment of our closest living relatives must change. I congratulate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for this very important decision.”

Would life change for captive chimps if this goes through? Thankfully, yes. According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, “If this proposal is finalized, certain activities would require a permit, including import and export of chimpanzees into and out of the United States, “take” (defined by the ESA as harm, harass, kill, injure, etc.) within the United States, and interstate and foreign commerce. Permits would be issued only for scientific purposes or to enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species, including habitat restoration and research on chimpanzees in the wild that contributes to improved management and recovery. The Service will work closely with the National Institutes of Health, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the biomedical research community, and other affected parties to consider the implications of this proposed rule on their operations.”

If you believe that captive chimps should be given the same protection as wild chimps, get in touch with US Fish and Wildlife Service today.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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