Chimpanzees: See no evil
They are highly intelligent, our nearest genetic relatives, yet chimpanzees remain persecuted and abused. Rachelle Thackray talks to their greatest, indefatigable champion. Photographs by Michael Nichols
Saturday 12 June 1999
The centre's 30 miles of woodland have become isolated as surrounding trees have been cut down to make way for farming. "It's as though the chimps are living on an island," explains Goodall. "They can no longer exchange genes with other groups and in the long term there will be the effects of in-breeding." In a bid to help save the dwindling natural environment, she has helped set up a programme for villagers from the shores of Lake Tanganyika to grow fruit and vegetables and plant trees. "We have now reached the stage where this can be replicated in other parts of Africa, so that the people themselves are helping to save the last forests," she says.
Sometimes the cruelty to chimpanzees is closer to home: Goodall was provoked by a recent US Airforce decision to hand over more than 100 creatures, which had been used for experimentation, to a toxicologist. They should go to a sanctuary, she argued, where they can live out their days in peace and quiet - something Goodall herself deserves. Apart from the occasional fortnight with her 94-year-old mother in England, or her grandchildren in Tanzania, her days are crammed with speaking and campaigning engagements. "I'm literally living in hotels. My spiritual home is Gombe - it's where I go to recharge my batteries. I had these wonderful, incredible years, living with the chimps, building the research station and getting knowledge. Now is the time for sharing". `Brutal Kinship' by Michael Nichols and Jane Goodall (Aperture, pounds 15.95) can be ordered from The Jane Goodall Institute UK, 15 Clarendon Park, Lymington, Hants SO41 8AX, 01590 671188; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous pages, clockwise from top left: a female Tai Forest chimp protects the corpse of her infant, which died after falling and probably breaking its neck; Whiskey, a five-year-old chimpanzee, held captive in a car-repair garage in Burundi; Jane Goodall with La Vielle, an aged female half-crazed from spending years alone in a Congolese zoo, La Vielle was moved to a nearby sanctuary in 1994.
This page, clockwise from top left: Sam, a former carnival chimp, which is now caged beside his owner's bar in Maineville, Ohio - in spite of posted signs, visitors sneak cigarettes to him which he lights for himself; a technician feeds a one-week-old research chimp at the Southwest Institute in San Antonio, Texas; 43-year-old Susie, a former performing chimpanzee, with owner Dan Westfall at his home in Palm Springs, California
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