Arcus Foundation Applauds USFWS Recognition of Captive Chimpanzees As Endangered Species

June 12, 2015
Media Contact
Andy Marra
Communications Manager

NEW YORK, NY (June 12, 2015) –– The Arcus Foundation, a global foundation promoting respect for diversity among peoples and in nature, applauded today the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for its decision to recognize chimpanzees held in captivity as an endangered species.

“We thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its leadership to protect all chimpanzees under the Endangered Species Act,” said Linda May, Arcus’ Captive Apes Program Director. “The decision to recognize captive chimpanzees as an endangered species now provides these vulnerable primates with a set of legal protections, curbing their abuse and exploitation. This positive step will ensure chimpanzees are treated with respect and allowed to thrive in their natural habitats.”

Previously, captive chimpanzees were designated as a threatened species and excluded from receiving protections already afforded to chimpanzees in their natural habitats. The upgraded status to an endangered species will include chimpanzees used in entertainment, invasive research, for breeding and trade, or to be kept as pets.

The USFWS ruling now makes the U.S. government in compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, an international conservation agreement signed by 181 nations.

On June 11, 2013, the USFWS issued a proposal to review the designation of captive chimpanzees after accepting a petition submitted by a group of organizations urging the federal agency to reconsider their status. A 60-day public comment period followed.

The Humane Society of the United States was the lead petitioner along with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The Fund for Animals, Humane Society International, Jane Goodall Institute, New England Anti-Vivisection Society, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, and Wildlife Conservation Society. Additional support was provided by Center for Great Apes and Save the Chimps, among others.

“We extend our congratulations to the group of organizations behind making this decision a reality,” May added. “Arcus is committed to ensuring apes can thrive – living full lives on their own terms in their natural habitats. We will continue to support this crucial work carried out by our grantees and partners here in the U.S. and abroad.”

Learn more about Arcus’ Great Apes Strategy, which aims to ensure conservation and respect for the world’s gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons, who are under threat in every country where they live.

Founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, the Arcus Foundation is dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Arcus’ work is based on the belief that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all of its inhabitants. The Foundation works globally and has offices in New York City and Cambridge, U.K. To learn more, visit: