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The Jane Goodall Institute is swinging onto the lobbying scene for the first time, with a list of priorities that includes species conservation, conservation of primate habitats, the treatment of chimpanzees in captivity, and chimps retired from participating in scientific research. Alexandra Thornton, who has a background in nonprofit management and once worked for former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), says she was hired last year to set up a public policy arm for the 30-year-old group, which has offices worldwide and a large presence in Tanzania. Goodall’s work with primates in Africa has drawn international attention. “She really feels like she wants to bring the message to policy-makers in the U.S. about the importance of the U.S. and everyone caring about species conservation,” Thornton says. The organization plans to lobby Congress to increase resources for the Great Apes Conservation Fund. Also, Thornton says, the 1999 Chimp Act created a retirement preserve in Louisiana, called Chimp Haven, for chimps that could no longer be used for medical research by the National Institutes of Health. The legislation, though, included a provision saying the chimps could be brought back if needed; that has discouraged private donors to the refuge, and the organization plans to lobby for its removal, she says.
Carrie Levine can be contacted at [email protected].

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