A new listing under the Endangered Species Act effectively bans the use of captive chimpanzees in human biomedical research. This might seem like good news. But this action to protect the welfare of captive chimpanzees by classifying them as endangered could unintentionally deliver a serious blow to wild apes. Efforts to develop and deploy vaccines against Ebola and other infectious diseases ravaging these animals could grind to a halt.
Commercial bushmeat hunting and habitat loss have caused catastrophic declines in chimpanzee and gorilla populations. But disease has become a third driver of the unfolding African ape apocalypse. Most notably, the Ebola virus has in recent decades killed perhaps one-third of the world’s gorilla population and an untold number of chimpanzees.… Seguir leyendo »