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Following additional legal determinations about the application of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a proposal to classify both wild and captive chimpanzees as endangered. The decision reflects growing threats to the species and aligns the chimpanzee's status with existing legal requirements as well as protections for other species. Currently, only wild chimpanzees are listed as endangered while captive chimpanzees are listed as threatened.
The rule proposed today would correct this inconsistency after the Service determined that the ESA does not allow for captive-held animals to be assigned a separate legal status from their wild counterparts. In addition, the Service found threats to the chimpanzee from habitat loss, poaching, and disease have intensified and expanded since wild populations were listed as endangered in 1990.