Friday, June 14, 2013

Wildlife Without Borders

In an interesting story about the way the endangered and threatened listings work, I saw that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has called for the protection of chimpanzees. It is interesting and unusual because we don't think of chimps and apes as species from the United States. So, why would we need to protect them with a listing? And what impact could this possibly have on New Jersey?

The FWS is currently monitoring the population wherever it is found in the wild as "endangered" and wherever it is found in captivity as "theatened." This what is considered to be a "split listing."
Image via

The greatest impact would be that it would require a special permit to use chimps in medical research or to sell them interstate. Currently, about 2,000 chimps are held in captivity in the United States. Half of those are used for research.

In a wider world context, primatologist Jane Goodall and her Jane Goodall Institute have been calling for protections like this for many years.  Outside the U.S., chimps are threatened by habitat loss and disease. Unfortunately, poaching of animals for sale has increased since they were listed as endangered in 1990. The Jane Goodall Institute applauded the USFWS announcement which could greatly expand protection of chimpanzees, including the thousands of chimpanzees currently held captive in the United States.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of International Conservation works with partners worldwide to conserve fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, and maintain the integrity of ecological processes beyond our borders, for present and future generations.

In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Great Ape Conservation Act and since then Wildlife Without Borders has been building the capacity of governments and private organizations to address the threats to great apes through the Great Ape Conservation Fund.

Wildlife, fish, and plants do not recognize national boundaries. Conservation of wildlife is a global responsibility, with the survival of species largely dependent on habitats extending beyond national boundaries. With human populations growing – and corresponding increases in development, pollution and consumption of natural resources – the need for international collaboration has never been greater.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is supporting efforts to fight poaching and illegal trafficking in great apes; to increase habitat protection by creating national parks and protected areas; and engaging the community through local initiatives to conserve the most threatened great ape species.

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