All the species of chimpanzees hosted on American land are now considered endangered species. The new regulation was announced by the U.S. government of Friday, the 12th of June and it will become effective starting September 14.
This decision follows an older proposal forwarded in 2013 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that required the government to make no difference between captive and wild chimpanzees, in an attempt to protect the ones held captive.
The U.S. Endangered Species Act issued in 1990 only protected the wild apes, while those held captive still faced many threats, given the fact that 730 of the 1,724 captive chimpanzees were hosted in labs.
Human activity has harmed these animals enormously, with the constant poaching, deforestation and capturing for the pet market. The result was the decimation of the chimpanzees population. At the end of the last century, there were about one million apes. The Jane Goodall Institute reported that today there are no more than 300,000 chimpanzees inhabiting the U.S. land.
The director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, said that the split listing that only protected wild apes was at the time a way to support captive breeding of these animals and thus reduce the risk of capturing wild great apes and remove them from their habitat.
“What we actually did was expand a culture and an attitude of treating these animals as commodities for research or sale and for entertainment. We believe that has undermined the conservation of chimpanzees in the wild,” he added.
Jane Goodall also commented on this, saying that she also approved of the split listing at the beginning because there was a lot of research for HIV treatments at the time and the chimpanzees were a necessary part of it.
Moreover, at the time, the regulation met huge opposition from representatives of the medical research, which made it more difficult for them to protect the captive chimps.
The new regulation does not impose restrictions on people who own these animals are pets. However, those who want to buy or sell these animals will need a permit to do so.
The agency will also closely monitor any activity that involves chimpanzees and various permits will be needed for all kinds of medical research.
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, June 16.
Image Source: prezi