We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list all chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our review, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing all chimpanzees as endangered may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a review of the status of the species to determine if listing the entire species as endangered is warranted. To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding this species. Based on the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, which will address whether the petitioned action is warranted, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
*54423 ACTION: Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list all chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our review, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing all chimpanzees as endangered may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a review of the status of the species to determine if listing the entire species as endangered is warranted. To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding this species. Based on the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, which will address whether the petitioned action is warranted, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.
DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we request that we receive information on or before October 31, 2011.
ADDRESSES: You may submit information by one of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov . Search for Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2010-0086 and then follow the instructions for submitting comments.
• U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R9-IA-2008-0123; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov . This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information Solicited section below for more details).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Van Norman, Chief, Branch of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703-358-2171; facsimile 703-358-1735. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.
Under the Act, when we make a finding that a petition presents substantial information indicating that listing a species may be warranted, we are required to promptly review the status of the species. To ensure that our status review of the chimpanzee is complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, we need certain information. We request scientific and commercial information from the public, concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties on the status of the chimpanzee throughout its range, including but not limited to:
(1) Information on taxonomy, distribution, habitat selection, diet, and population abundance and trends of this species.
(2) Information on the effects of habitat loss and changing land uses on the distribution and abundance of this species and its principal food sources over the short and long term.
(3) Information on whether changing climatic conditions are affecting the species, its habitat, or its prey base.
(4) Information on the effects of other potential threat factors, including live capture and collection, domestic and international trade, predation by other animals, and diseases of this species.
(5) Information on management programs for chimpanzee conservation, including mitigation measures related to conservation programs, and any other private or governmental conservation programs that benefit this species.
(6) Information relevant to whether any populations of this species may qualify as distinct population segments.
(7) Information on captive breeding and domestic trade of this species in the United States.
(8) Genetics and taxonomy.
(9) The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination for a species under section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:
(a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
*54424 (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
(c) Disease or predation;
(d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
(e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
We will base our status review on the best scientific and commercial information available, including all information we receive during the public comment period. Please note that comments merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be part of the basis of this determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species must be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.” At the conclusion of the status review, we will issue the 12-month finding on the petition, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.
You may submit your information concerning this status review by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov , your entire submission—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this personal identifying information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov .
Information and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this finding, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov , or by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program, Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires that we make a finding on whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents substantial scientific or commercial information to indicate that the petitioned action may be warranted. We are to base this finding on information provided in the petition, supporting information submitted with the petition, and information otherwise available in our files. To the maximum extent practicable, we are to make this finding within 90 days of our receipt of the petition and publish our notice of the finding promptly in the Federal Register.
Our standard for substantial information within the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with regard to a 90-day petition finding is “that amount of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition may be warranted” (50 CFR 424.14(b)). If we find that substantial scientific or commercial information was presented, we are required to promptly review the status of the species, which is subsequently summarized in our status review (also referred to as a 12-month finding).
On March 16, 2010, we received a petition dated the same day, from Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal on behalf of The Humane Society of the United States, the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, the Fund for Animals, Humane Society International, and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (hereafter referred to as “petitioners”) requesting that captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) be reclassified as endangered under the Act. The petition clearly identified itself as such and included the requisite identification information for the petitioners, as required by 50 CFR 424.14(a). The petition contained information on what the petitioners reported as potential threats to the species from habitat loss, poaching and trafficking, disease, and inadequate regulatory mechanisms. In a September 15, 2010, letter to Katherine Meyer, we responded that we were currently required to complete a significant number of listing and critical habitat actions in fiscal year 2010, including complying with court orders and court-approved settlement agreements, listing actions with absolute statutory deadlines, and high-priority listing actions, that required nearly all of our listing and critical habitat funding for fiscal year 2010. We also stated that we anticipated making an initial finding during fiscal year 2011, as to whether the petition contained substantial information indicating that the action may be warranted.
On October 12, 2010, we received a letter from Anna Frostic, Staff Attorney with the Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of the petitioners clarifying that the March 16, 2010, petition was a petition to list the entire species (Pan troglodytes) as endangered, whether in the wild or in captivity, pursuant to the Act. We acknowledged receipt of this letter in a letter to Ms. Frostic dated October 15, 2010. This finding addresses the petition.
Previous Federal Action(s)
On October 19, 1976, we published in the Federal Register a rule listing the chimpanzee and 25 other species of primates under the Act (41 FR 45990); the chimpanzee and 13 of the other primate species were listed as threatened. The chimpanzee was found to be threatened based on (1) Commercial logging and clearing of forests for agriculture and the use of arboricides; (2) capture and exportation for use in research labs and zoos; (3) diseases, such as malaria, hepatitis, and tuberculosis contracted from humans; and (4) ineffectiveness of existing regulatory mechanisms. We simultaneously issued a special rule that the general prohibitions provided to the threatened species would apply except for live animals of these species held in captivity in the United States on the effective date of the rulemaking, progeny of such animals, or to the progeny of animals legally imported in the United States after the effective date of the rulemaking.
On November 4, 1987, we received a petition from the Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, and Jane Goodall Institute, requesting that the chimpanzee be reclassified from threatened to endangered. On March 23, 1988 (53 FR 9460), we published in the Federal Register a finding, in accordance with section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, that the petition had presented substantial information indicating that the requested reclassification may be warranted and initiated a status review. We opened a comment period, which closed July 21, 1988, to allow all interested parties to submit comments and information.
On December 28, 1988 (53 FR 52452), we published in the Federal Register a finding that the requested reclassification was warranted with respect to chimpanzees in the wild. This decision was based on the petition and subsequent supporting comments which dealt primarily with the status of the species in the wild and not with the viability of captive populations. Furthermore, we found that the special rule exempting captive chimpanzees in the United States from the general prohibitions may encourage *54425 propagation, providing surplus animals and reducing the incentive to remove animals from the wild. On February 24, 1989 (54 FR 8152), we published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to implement such reclassification. We did not propose reclassification of captive chimpanzees. Following publication of the proposed rule, we opened a 60-day comment period to allow all interested parties to submit comments and information.
On March 12, 1990, we published in the Federal Register (55 FR 9129) a final rule reclassifying the wild populations of the chimpanzees as endangered. The captive chimpanzees remained classified as threatened, and those within the United States continued to be covered by the special rule allowing activities otherwise prohibited.
On the basis of information provided in the petition we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the entire species of chimpanzee as endangered may be warranted. Therefore, we will initiate a status review to determine if listing the species in its entirety is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding this species (see Information Solicited).
It is important to note that the “substantial information” standard for a 90-day finding is in contrast to the Act's “best scientific and commercial data” standard that applies to a 12-month finding as to whether a petitioned action is warranted. A 90-day finding is not a status assessment of the species and does not constitute a status review under the Act. Our final determination as to whether a petitioned action is warranted is not made until we have completed a thorough review of the status of the species, which is conducted following a substantial 90-day finding. Because the Act's standards for 90-day and 12-month findings are different, as described above, a substantial 90-day finding does not mean that the 12-month finding will result in a warranted finding.
The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
Dated: August 22, 2011.
Gregory E. Siekaniec,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-22372 Filed 8-31-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P