No more monkey business. On June 16, 2015 all chimpanzees in the United States, both wild and captive, will officially be officially designated as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); so said the United States Fish and Wildlife Service this past Friday.
This will be put into effect after a 90-day grace period on September 14, 2015. Captive chimps will now be classified as endangered just as wild chimps are currently listed. This also removes captive chimpanzees from a specific policy for primates which previously permitted certain actions that are normally prohibited under the Endangered Species Act.
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2015. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service did release a statement saying that they will “work closely with the biomedical research community to permit biomedical research that must use chimpanzees as research subjects.”
The federal agency indicated that special permits will be required for specific chimpanzee-related activities. Furthermore, these permits will be issued solely for “scientific purposes that benefit the species in the wild, or to enhance the propagation or survival of chimpanzees, including habitat restoration and research on chimpanzees in the wild that contributes to improved management and recovery.”
Dan Ashe, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s director stated that this will “create barriers” for biomedical research facilities that presently use captive chimpanzees. He added that there are at present 730 chimpanzees being used for this purpose.
Erika Fleury, spokesperson for the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, a group of eight primate sanctuaries across North America which currently cares for approximately 600 monkeys chimpanzees, told The New York Times that this upcoming “change will help put an end to the exploitation of chimpanzees. She concluded, however, that if this results in more chimpanzees spending their golden years in sanctuaries then additional funds should be funneled to said sanctuaries.
U.S. Chimpanzees Will Be Designated ‘Endangered’