People and Primates
Chimpanzees have four limbs, two eyes, and one heart, just like humans. These are just three of the many similarities between mankind and these primates. Humans share about 98% of their genes with chimpanzees, making chimps one of our closest relatives. However, humans today are not treating chimpanzees anything like family. We are invading the forests in which chimpanzees live, spreading diseases that are wiping out thousands of chimps, and hunting chimps for unnecessary reasons. Joining 16,000 unfortunate species, chimpanzees are now classified as an endangered species. If this is not concerning enough, chimpanzees will go extinct in the next 15 years if mankind does not address this problem and take action.
One of the most dedicated institutions to helping these innocent animals prolong their existence on this planet is the Jane Goodall Institute. This global nonprofit promotes keeping chimpanzees safe from poaching, disease, and the destruction of their habitats. Above all, the Jane Goodall Institute raises awareness of the possible extinction of these gentle animals, and provides many programs with ways humans can help the cause. The JGI strives to continue the legacy of Jane Goodall, the woman who started it all. Dr. Goodall studied chimpanzee behavior back in 1960, and her findings in modern Tanzania led to future discoveries in primatology. She travels all over, speaking about how humans can positively impact the world. I was lucky enough to hear her speak at University of California, Irvine through the Center for Living Peace. Dr. Goodall is without a doubt the most inspiring and humble woman I have ever met. For more information about the Jane Goodall Institute, please click here.
The JGI also values young people and their potential to make a difference in the world of humans and chimpanzees. A program for young people associated with JGI is Roots and Shoots. Roots and Shoots, a program that inspires young people to enhance the world with their actions, has more than 150,000 members from all over the globe. Young people of all ages participate in activities such as planting trees, helping the homeless, and raising awareness and money for other environmental issues. They take action in their communities, helping the world become a better place one small step at a time. If you are interested in being a member of Roots & Shoots, please click here. Try to get involved with a program, institution, or nonprofit that helps rebuild the relationship between people and primates.
“We have a choice to use the gift of our lives to make a difference. It’s up to us to decide what kind of difference we’re going to make.”-Dr. Jane Goodall