Captive Chimps Endangered, Too

The US Fish and Wildlife Service moves captive chimpanzees under the umbrella of federal protection that covers their wild counterparts.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst was managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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WIKIMEDIA, THOMAS LERSCHBeginning in September, research involving captive chimpanzees will require additional permits, issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The agency announced last week (June 12) that both captive chimps are now protected under the Endangered Species Act, as their wild brethren have been for more than two decades. It was the only “split listing” of its kind in the history of the act, originally instituted “to allow the National Institutes of Health [NIH] to fund medical experiments using captive chimps,” according to The Washington Post.

“Extending captive chimpanzees the protections afforded their endangered cousins in the wild will ensure humane treatment and restrict commercial activities under the Endangered Species Act,” FWS Director Dan Ashe told The Washington Post. “The decision responds to growing threats to the species and aligns the chimpanzee’s status with existing legal requirements.”

The new rules were requested by primate...

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