Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Legal challenge to prevent US chimpanzees moving to UK zoo fails

30 September 2016

Categories: Homepage News, Zoo Check Campaign News, Primates Campaign News

The Born Free Foundation is profoundly disappointed to learn that, despite widespread opposition and objections from the animal protection community and the wider public, a US Federal judge approved the exportation of seven chimpanzees from Yerkes National Primate Research Centre, Georgia, to Wingham Wildlife Park in the UK. 

Animal welfare groups have spent two years trying to prevent the move on the basis that any export of an endangered species such as chimpanzees must be undertaken with the objective of furthering the survival of the species; something that appears extremely unlikely in this case.

The judge presiding on the legal challenge criticised the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which approved the move, by saying the agency’s interpretation of the Endangered Species Act “appears to thwart the dynamic of environmental protection that congress plainly intended”. Despite these comments, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the NGOs who sued the Fish and Wildlife Service lacked the legal standing to do so, and thus the chimpanzees can be moved.

The Born Free Foundation is convinced a genuine accredited sanctuary in North America, of which there are several, would present a more humane and logical option for rehoming the chimpanzees. Moving seven chimpanzees to a UK zoo with no experience in caring for the species brings no benefit or enhancement to the future survival of the species and risks the welfare of the individual animals.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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