chimpanzees; endangered species act

Help Stop the Deportation of Endangered Chimpanzees

Finally, chimpanzees have been recognized as an endangered species and, in its first test of how their protection will be implemented, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, failed miserably.

Perhaps a backlash is in order.

"For almost two years, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University has been working to send seven chimpanzees to a zoo in England, prompting the outrage of several animal welfare and conservation groups because the zoo is unaccredited and there are American sanctuaries ready to accept the chimps." From the NYTimes.

Here is the latest update in our critical campaign to stop the transfer of Emory’s Yerkes 7 endangered chimpanzees—Agatha, Elvira, Faye, Fritz, Lucas, Tara, and Georgia—to Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent, England. 

Immediately upon hearing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s decision that New England Anti-vivisection Society NEAVS and its coalition lacked standing to stop the export permit, and upon reading the Court’s language regarding the export, including that “FWS’s [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s] broad interpretation [of the Endangered Species Act] appears to thwart the dynamic of environmental protection that Congress plainly intended,” it is obvious that the legality of this export permit was successfully challenged. (As background we have attached the entire court ruling, but most important are pages 56-58; key sections highlighted.) The Judge’s ruling places both Yerkes and FWS under a glaring spotlight. Even with the permit in hand, the illegality and accompanying immorality of this export is no longer in doubt. It is confirmed. 

NEAVS appealed directly to the Emory University President and its Board of Directors. You can view the letter here:

And to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, who soon will welcome Dan Ashe, Director of FWS under which this highly unethical and blatantly wrong interpretation of the Endangered Species Act has occurred. You can view the letter here:

NEAVS and its coalition of chimpanzee and conservation experts, former Yerkes caregivers, and animal advocates will leave NO STONE UNTURNED to stop this export of endangered lab chimpanzees. As we write, our lawyers are planning our prioritizing our next steps. Our staff are working hard on internal strategies.

We are now asking YOU to SPEAK OUT in opposition to this illegal export permit as it is in clear violation of what the U.S. Congress intended within the language of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 


1. Express your strong disapproval of the export permit TODAY by contacting Emory University President, Claire E. Sterk, Ph.D. at, or call Dr. Sterk at 404-727-6013. Implore her to make certain that Emory stops Yerkes’ complicity and blatant disregard for U.S. law and instead exhibits nothing less than the highest ethical standards of behavior by sending these and all of their chimpanzees to U.S. sanctuaries.

2. Contact Dan Ashe at FWS and ask him to suspend this export permit given the scathing language of the court calling into question why FWS thinks it has the right to “sell permits” when its mandate is to protect endangered species. You can contact him at or 202-208-4717.

Keep those emails and calls coming and spread the word. They need to be reminded that FWS did not prevail in this lawsuit on merit. The judgement was with NEAVS and the thousands who oppose this export. They prevailed on a legal technicality. And shame on them if they take advantage of that to the detriment of these 7 chimps, all captive U.S. chimps, and all chimpanzees worldwide.

Theodora Capaldo, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS)