WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed classifying chimpanzees in the wild and captivity as endangered.
The rule proposed Tuesday would correct an inconsistency in the primates’ classification — wild chimps are listed as endangered and captive chimps are listed as threatened — as well as address growing threats to chimpanzee from habitat loss, poaching and disease, the agency said in a release.
“Chimpanzees are one of the world’s most iconic species because of their connections and similarity to humans,” FWS Director Dan Ashe said. “We all know the important work that British primatologist Jane Goodall has done to understand chimpanzees in the wild and raise worldwide awareness about their plight. Our hope is that this proposal will ignite renewed public interest in the status of chimpanzees in the wild.”
In 2010, the service received a petition from a coalition of organizations, including the Jane Goodall Institute, to list all chimpanzees as endangered, leading to a review of the status of chimpanzees under the Endangered Species Act, FWS officials said. The proposal, published in the Federal Register Wednesday, will be open for public comment for 60 days.
If the proposal is finalized, certain activities would require a permit, including the import and export of chimpanzees into and out of the United States, among other things. Permits would be issued for scientific purposes or to enhance the population or survival of the affected species, FWS officials said.