Earlier this summer the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) classified captive chimpanzees as endangered – the same as chimpanzees found in the wild. Starting September 14, most biomedical research involving captive chimpanzees will require a permit.
In a meeting with staff of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the American Physiological Society, the FWS provided additional information about the process. The permits would be required for most instances where the research would harm, harass, kill or injure a chimpanzee, as this is otherwise a violation of the Endangered Species Act. There will be two types of research eligible for a permit: research that directly benefits conservation efforts for wild chimpanzee populations and research that doesn’t directly benefit such conservation efforts but includes support for in situ conservation efforts (though federal grant money cannot be used to pay for such efforts). In other words, if there’s no direct benefits to conservation efforts in the research, a successful permit will involve a little extra support (not from the government) to support conservation efforts.
Permits should take about 3 months to complete, which includes a 30 day public comment period. Once approved, such permits will be valid for five years, with annual reports required. Entities interested in the permitting process should reach out to the FWS for a conversation.