On Monday, September 14th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) uplisting that gives the same protections to chimpanzees held in captivity as it does their free-living relatives in Africa went into effect! The decision reversed a decades-long policy that contributed to the inhumane and wasteful use of chimpanzees in biomedical research for humans. Their new FWS endangered status affords chimpanzees further protections, such as restrictions on their use in research and entertainment.
In 2010 in a coalition of organizations, NEAVS co-petitioned FWS to "uplist" captive chimpanzees to endangered. All chimpanzees are now considered endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This ends their former, unique “split-listing” (captive chimpanzees were previously considered only threatened).
“NEAVS celebrates this historic and long overdue protection: ALL chimpanzees – both captive and wild - can now be given the care and considerations deserving to a species that the world does not want to be without. Many, many chimpanzees would not have suffered the fates they have known if these new protections had been afforded decades ago. And so, we applaud this day,” says Theodora Capaldo, EdD, NEAVS president.
Dr. Capaldo continues, “However, their new status is not a bullet proof vest and by no means suggests that our work to keep them safe is over. On the contrary, the spirit of a law can be circumvented legally. Their up-listed status provides us another legal tool by which to monitor them, and work to prevent those who will continue to try, through significant loopholes in the law, to either profit from or abandon their financial responsibilities to the very chimpanzees they have used for economic gain for decades. We have accomplished so much for chimpanzees in the last decade … and today is no small part of that. BUT, there is more to be done. A lot more.”