15 February 2011
Posted in Dr. Phillips CineDome
According to the Jane Goodall Institute, there were approximate 1 million wild chimpanzees at the turn of the 20th century today there are only 170,000 to 300,000. Wild chimpanzee communities have been negatively impacted by deforestation and the bush meat trade. In order to save the chimps, JGI supports communities so that they can manage their own natural resources.
You don’t have to travel all the way to Tanzania to see where a difference is being made. The Center for Great Apes in Wachula, Florida provides a sanctuary for both chimpanzees and orangutans - their larger, hairier (and more orange) cousins. Many of their residents were used in research and the entertainment industry. Some of these great creatures were even kept as house pets!
The individual intelligence and complex social structure of primate society make in next to impossible for chimpanzees raised as pampered pets or actors to interact with their own kind. They simply lack the social skills necessary to survive in the group environment most zoos provide. Desperate owners of what were once adorable baby chimps search for a home for the beloved pet that has simply grown to strong to handle safely. As a result, these creatures are often sold to breeders or other unscrupulous businesses. At this time there are 12 chimpanzees on the waiting list to live out their days at the sanctuary. Due to the high cost of caring for these animals ($10,000 to $20,000 per year) the center must limited the number it can care for.