In the U.S., wild chimpanzees have been protected as ‘endangered’ under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since 1990, but their captive counterparts continued to be listed as threatened, which exempted them from the same protection that their free-living relatives received.
This is about to change, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) just announced that it has finalized a rule that will protect equally both wild and captive chimpanzees as endangered under the ESA.
While the change won’t end private ownership, it will impact how chimpanzees are used and treated. When it comes to research, permits would only be issued for projects that are intended to directly benefit chimpanzeess, such as habitat restoration, researching wild chimps to contribute to improved management or recovery or studying diseases that specifically affect them.
To learn more, read Alicia Graef’s blog post “Victory! Captive chimps listed as endangered” on Care2.