Wild chimps have been considered endangered ever since 1990. However this does not apply for captive chimps. That is why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to change this according to an announcement made on Friday.
So far captive chimps were under the threatened label which, according to animal-rights advocates, means that they could be exploited for entertainment purposes or used in medical research. A coalition of advocates among who there was also the famous primatologist Jane Goodall petitioned the US government in 2010 in order to extend the endangered status to captive chimpanzees. According to Goodall this will make exploitation more difficult.
In a statement Dan Ashe, the director of Fish and Wildlife, declared:
“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.”
According to Goodall for over two decades a large number of people has worked in order to make this change happen and the fact that this was now possible came as a relief. However things do not end here. She also added that there are still much which should be done before all captive chimps will receive the adequate protection. Anyway the fact that the animals have received the new listing is a huge step towards curbing the obvious exploitation which was possible until now.
Goodall also said that this measure will be extremely beneficial for those animals who are kept in inappropriate captive conditions. This step will be welcomed by all those who are concerned about the well-being of captive chimps.
Delcianna Winders, the deputy general counsel of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation) supports this initiative. According to her this step finally fixes a loophole which has allowed for the captive chimps to be harassed, harmed, traded, bought and sold. All of these are now considered violations of the Endangered Species Act. It seems that life will improve for captive chimps from now on.
Research conducted on chimps will receive permits as long as they have a scientific purpose which addresses the benefits of the species in the wild or the problems of chimp survival. Such purposes include habitat restoration or research which contributes to management and recovery improvement. Those who are private owners of the animal won’t need a permit unless they want to sell the chimp for commercial purpose.
Image Source: Denver Parent