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Chimps in captivity may soon join endangered species list

Proposal would extend protections to both wild and captive primate populations

PRIMATE PROTECTION All chimps, including ones held in captivity for medical research, may soon qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act, according to a new rule proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Captive chimps might soon enjoy the same protections that their wild cousins do.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to apply the full terms of the Endangered Species Act to all chimpanzees, captive and wild. If adopted, the new rule would restrict import, export and harm of the animals, and clamp down on research that uses chimps and even their blood or tissue.

Roughly 2,000 chimpanzees live in captivity in the United States; about half of these are held for medical research. In 1990, the Fish and Wildlife Service granted endangered status for wild chimpanzees. Captive chimps were considered only threatened. In the entire history of the Endangered Species Act, there has been no similar instance of a split listing, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a press briefing June 11.

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