Help Captive Chimps, Save Wild Ones Too

Chimpanzees -- both those in captivity and in the wild -- desperately need your help. The world population of wild chimpanzees has fallen by nearly 70 percent in the past 30 years. Although wild chimpanzees have long been listed under the Endangered Species Act, captive chimpanzees, living in all kinds of conditions in the United States, have been exempted from protection.

That double standard is harming the whole species by driving illegal trade and weakening global conservation efforts.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to protect captive chimpanzees as endangered species as well. Please -- help chimps, both wild and living in captivity, by urging the Service to pursue this change.

The illegal capture and export of chimpanzees to be exploited -- as entertainment, pets for the rich, and research subjects in labs -- is contributing to the ongoing decline of wild chimpanzee populations.

Tell the Service that, to save chimpanzees, all chimpanzees need to be protected.
I am writing to urge you to finalize Endangered Species Act protections for captive chimpanzees. Protecting captive chimpanzees will not only aid those chimpanzees already in captivity but also help reduce threats to wild chimpanzees by curtailing illegal trafficking.

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Threats to chimpanzees have intensified and expanded since 1990, when wild populations were listed as endangered. Across wild chimpanzee ranges, deforestation, poaching, capture for the pet trade and “bushmeat,” and outbreaks of disease are killing chimpanzees that are necessary to sustain and recover viable populations -- recovery that is already difficult given the slow reproductive rates of these highly intelligent primates.

The pet trade has a significant draining effect on populations -- too many chimpanzees are killed just to capture one infant, and this threatens the survival of wild chimpanzees. Further captive-breeding efforts have not alleviated the demand for wild chimpanzees.

Allowing captive chimpanzees in the United States to be commercially exploited has encouraged poaching and black market trade, hampered international conservation efforts, and created the public misperception that chimpanzees are common in the wild. And the different standards for captive and wild chimpanzee protections have contributed to their ongoing decline.

The Endangered Species Act was intended to prevent extinction, and the split listing of chimps is contrary to this goal. I support the Service's position that listings should not be split for captive and wild members of a species. Please finalize protection for captive chimpanzees as endangered species and do not allow for any special rules that would undermine their protection.


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