A regulatory oddity that gives different levels of protection to wild and captive chimpanzees is up for review, potentially changing how humanity's closest living relatives are used in research and entertainment.
Unlike other endangered animals, which are considered endangered regardless of where they are, the U.S. government makes an exception for captive chimpanzees. While wild chimps are officially endangered, captive chimps are only threatened.
That designation permits the use of chimpanzees in commercials, as pets and -- most controversially -- as subjects of medical testing. About 1,000 chimpanzees are owned by private and government labs in the U.S., which outside of Gabon is the only country to permit invasive chimp research.
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