Project Issue: Captive Wildlife Care & Management

Captive Care and Management of Wildlife
November 20, 2016 Shawn Sweeney

Caring and Fighting for Captive Chimps and Other Primates

As a part of ensuring the well-being of all living creatures, and especially chimpanzees, the focus of the Jane Goodall Institute and Dr. Jane Goodall has been on the lives and living conditions of captive primates and other animals along with their wild counterparts. In 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was successful, with our support, in classifying wild chimpanzees as “endangered” rather than the previous “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Captive chimpanzees took a while longer to enter this category but fortunately, June 12, 2015, USFWS announced a change in this policy — now all chimpanzees, wild and captive, are classified as endangered. With this milestone, JGI is able more than ever to move on issues concerning the treatment, facilities and lives of captive primates.

Primates in captivity face a number of challenges including their use in biomedical research, cosmetics, and other industries which cause harm to these animals or establish environments which are not beneficial to the health of these creatures. JGI has maintained a steady and powerful commitment to creating coalitions and demanding change in areas like medical research – leading a driving force behind the decision by the NIH to remove all captive chimpanzees from biomedical research and to complete a plan of retirement for these animals to sanctuaries. Through alliances with networks of governmental and organizational groups, along with encouraging individual action through social media and petitioning, JGI is strategically and forcefully making the lives of captive primates the best they can be.

This change shows that many people are finally beginning to understand that it is not appropriate to subject our closest relatives to disrespectful, stressful or harmful procedures, whether as pets, in advertising or other forms of entertainment, or medical research. That we are beginning to realize our responsibilities towards these sentient, sapient beings, and that the government is listening.

– Dr.  Jane Goodall

Chimpanzee at Chimp Haven Sanctuary

Photo credits on this page, top to bottom and left to right: JGI/Fernando Turmo


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