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United Stated Fish and Wildlife Service said that on June 16, 2015 all chimpanzees in the United Stated, both captive and wild, will officially be designated as endangered under the Endangered Species Act or ESA.
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 primate which previously permitted certain actions that are normally prohibited under the Endangered Species Act.
Federal wildlife officials said both captive and wild chimps will get the same protections.
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2015.
The United Stated Fish and Wildlife Service said 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.”
This will create barriers for biomedical research facilities that presently used captive chimpanzees said Dan Ashe, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s director. He further added that that there are at present 730 chimpanzees being used for this purpose.
Erika Fluery, spokesperson for the North America primate Sanctuary Alliance, a group of eight primate sanctuaries across North America which currently cares for 600 monkeys’ chimpanzees said this upcoming change will put an end to the exploitation of chimps. She concluded, however, that if this results in more chimps spending their golden years in sanctuaries then additional funds should be funneled to the said sanctuaries.