Animal Welfare Win: Illinois Passes Wild Animal Public Safety Act

July 3, 2023

In a significant victory for animal welfare, Illinois has established protections for nonhuman primates and bears from potentially harmful interactions with the public.

The Wild Animal Public Safety Act, introduced by State Senator Linda Holmes of Aurora and championed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), aims to ensure the well-being of these species and the safety of the public by prohibiting direct contact between these species and members of the public in Illinois.

The zoo strongly supported this legislation, recognizing its alignment with our own research findings. Studies conducted by Lincoln Park Zoo scientists have demonstrated that public interest in keeping primates as pets increases when exposed to images of people interacting with these animals. By prohibiting such interactions, the act aligns with Lincoln Park Zoo’s commitment to advancing animal welfare.

The Wild Animal Public Safety Act is in line with Lincoln Park Zoo’s progressive approach to connecting people responsibly with wildlife. In 2019 we formalized our approach, which prioritized animal welfare in all encounter programs based on science, including the work of Lincoln Park Zoo scientists.

Lincoln Park Zoo, an institution dedicated to animal welfare and scientific research, welcomes the passing of the Wild Animal Public Safety Act and urges everyone to Take Action With Us.