WASHINGTON (AP) – The Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday called for protection of all chimpanzees as endangered, an action that could affect use of the apes in medical research.
The agency’s plan would do away with a “split listing” that has labeled wild chimps as endangered but those in captivity as threatened, a status that offers less protection. The agency said that if made final, the proposal would require a special permit to use chimps in medical research or to sell them.
About 2,000 chimps are held in captivity in the United States, about half for medical research.
“Chimpanzees are one of the world’s most iconic species because of their connections and similarity to humans,” Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said. “Our hope is that this proposal will ignite renewed public interest in the status of chimpanzees in the wild.”