Chimpanzees have been in the spotlight at Lincoln Park Zoo lately. That’s not just a reference to Hank’s troop enjoying some outdoors time with the recent nice weather.
Last week postdoctoral research fellow Hani Freeman, Ph.D., published a paper sharing universal dimensions that define chimpanzee personalities: reactivity, dominance, openness, extraversion and agreeableness. This week Lincoln Park Zoo’s Project ChimpCARE helped arrange the transfer of six chimpanzees from a private owner to the Houston Zoo, where they’ll receive the expert care they need to thrive.
But in perhaps the most exciting news, just yesterday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed extending endangered status to non-wild chimpanzees in the United States. Chimpanzees are currently under a complex split listing. Wild chimpanzees are recognized as endangered, as they are, but chimpanzees in labs, sanctuaries, zoos and other facilities in the United States don’t receive the same level of protection.
We’ve worked hard to change that, partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute, Humane Society of the United States, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and other institutions to petition the government to protect these endangered animals. Steve Ross, Ph.D., director of the zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, played a central role in developing this petition. He’s spent the past five years advocating for this change to protect the animals he loves.
The proposal is now open for public comment. I encourage you to visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife comment site to express your support for extending endangered-species protection to all chimpanzees. Just click the “Comment Now!” button at the top right to share your thoughts.
In non-chimpanzee news, I’m looking forward to Friday’s SuperZooPicnic. This members-only event is a great chance to show our appreciation for the zoo’s strongest supporters. After that, Sunday is Father’s Day—a great time to visit the zoo with your dad, and also a chance to say hello to the zoo’s newest dad, our male trumpeter swan at the Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond.