Opening Summary Judgment Brief Filed In Continuing Effort To Stop The Export Of Chimpanzees To Unaccredited Zoo In England

Today we filed our opening summary judgment brief in our continuing effort to stop Yerkes National Primate Research Center from exporting seven endangered chimpanzees to Wingham Wildlife Park in England.  Please see our other blogs on this subject for background.  In our case pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, we represent a coalition of organizations, sanctuaries, and individuals who contend that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to allow Yerkes to export the chimpanzees violates Sections 7 and 10 of the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.  The Plaintiffs – led by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society – have been urging Yerkes to instead send the seven chimpanzees to one of several U.S. sanctuaries that have agreed to take them.  Dozens of chimpanzee experts and conservationists vehemently oppose the transfer of the chimpanzees to Wingham, which is being permitted by the FWS in exchange for a promise by Yerkes and Wingham to donate money to a third-party organization specializing in women’s reproductive health.  The experts agreed that this “pay to play” scheme violates the letter and spirit of the ESA and will only serve to fuel the black market in baby chimpanzees and other imperiled species.  The court is expected to issue a decision on the matter by early September.  A copy of Plaintiffs’ summary judgment brief can be found here.