I am so excited to finally announce that I will be spending three magnificent weeks in Sierra Leon observing chimpanzees this summer. It has been a while since I published a personal post, since I have been waiting to hear back from a few different institutions regarding my future in primatology. But now that I am pumped full of excitement and vaccines, I think that it is safe to share a little bit about the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project in the Tonkolili District of Sierra Leon in Western Africa.
I’ll say it. I have now decided to give myself the title ‘former zookeeper’ because the more I examine zoo’s and the way they operate the less I am satisfied. Most zoos put their animals first, most zoos put most of their animals first, but really, I’ve learned that its a department to department kind of thing. I’ve seen departments who really value and I’ve seen places that are more likely to put the people’s experience before their animals welfare.
The National Institute of Health is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world and is comprised of almost 30 centers. Wednesday, June 26, NIH announced that they would be retiring 310 government owned chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees share 98% of our DNA, they have complex relationships, raise their young, wage wars, have friendships, alliances and enemies. They have extensive tool use and even have intricate means of communication. As far as I knew, they were endangered species. I mean, this is what IUCN’s website and even WWF will tell you. But today I learned that that was only applicable to free-living chimpanzees. This means that chimpanzees in captivity are listed as threatened. Maybe this doesn’t seem so bad, until you realize that that is the loophole that allows them to be test subjects and live in labs, in often, sub-par conditions.
Of a chimpanzee researcher at Gombe National Park. Does Gombe sound familiar to you?? Well, if not, it should. Gombe is where Jane Goodall began her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees, or Pan troglodytes.
Happy hump day! Once again we are half way through the week and I’d like to celebrate with another hump day post! Lets talk about Bonobos, or Pan paniscus.