According to an official announcement made by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Services, every chimpanzee, either wild or living in captivity in the United States, will be protected by the endangered species list.
Under the new legislation, using chimpanzees for biomedical research, importation and exportation will require official permits issued by the agency.
Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, explained the reason for this recent regulation saying that it will help the chimpanzees, protecting them from going extinct.
The regulation also protects the animals from inhumane treatments such as lab experiments.
Ashe added that the new decision comes following the increasing threats to the chimp species.
In the meantime, the officials will continue their work with range states so that the survival and recovery of the chimps will be ensured.
Project ChimpCare, which is under the management of Lincoln Park Zoo, issued a report which states there are about 1,742 chimpanzees living in captivity in the United States at the moment.
The report also says that 730 chimps are being used for biomedical research in various science labs all over the country.
The other 1,012 chimps live in different sanctuaries, zoos, some are held by breeders and others are held in facilities that train them for the entertainment industry.
Under the Endangered Species Act issued in 1990, chimpanzees living in the wild were considered an endangered species, while those living in captivity were listed as threatened species.
Ashe said the only reason that the federal agency approved that chimps can be bred in captivity was to increase their numbers.
Several animal rights groups have asked the US Fish and Wildlife Services to have all chimpanzees, whether wild or captive, listed as endangered species since 2010 but their pleas were not very successful.
The new regulation will work in the best interest of those pressure groups.
Jane Goodall, primatologist and director of the Jane Goodall Institute in Arlington, Arizona, said that the new regulation that places all chimpanzees under the protection of the endangered species list proves that many people are finally realizing that chimps, like any other living species, need not be treated disrespectful, or be exposed to harmful or stressful procedures.
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