CHIMPANZEE COLLABORATORY UPDATE March 2002
Friends of the Chimpanzee Collaboratory may know that our debut was originally planned for mid-September of last year. However, following the tragedy of September 11th, we postponed our public schedule until now. Meanwhile, we have been working to further develop our mission, structure and projects. We’ve seen an internal shift in the Collaboratory’s relation to the Wildlife Advocacy Project, which now works for the group as a contractor. Meanwhile, we are excited to announce the addition of the Great Ape Project to the Collaboratory. The months since last September have also allowed us to fine-tune the direction and goals of the Collaboratory’s three committees.
The International Committee has launched an ambitious project to have the United Nations designate the great apes as a World Heritage Species and formulate a global strategy to “save all great apes in their natural habitats.” Such a declaration will pave the way for stronger international legislation to protect the world’s remaining great apes. The committee is also working to counter the disastrous effect the commercial bushmeat trade has on great ape populations in their range states.
The Legal Committee continues its work to address the particularly inadequate protections offered to chimpanzees under the federal Endangered Species Act, and to other great apes more generally. The committee will also host a symposium at Harvard University this fall where leading legal scholars will debate the concept of extending legal rights to the great apes.
The Public Education Committee is researching the use of chimpanzees and other great apes in entertainment, with particular attention to the traditional animal-caretaker relationship. The subcommittee has also commissioned a study to determine where the great apes used in entertainment come from, how they are kept, and where they end up when they are no longer used in entertainment. We are also examining the continued and widespread practice of singly housing great apes and other non-human primates in zoos, laboratories and elsewhere.