Great apes face extinction: conservationist Jane Goodall

Jul 29, 2014
A chimpanzee at the zoo in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on June 12, 2014

The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday, in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out.

"If we don't take action the great apes will disappear, because of both as well as trafficking," Goodall told AFP in an interview in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

In the past half century, chimpanzee numbers have slumped from two million to just 300,000, spread over 21 countries, said Goodall, a British scientist who spent more than five decades studying in Tanzania's Gombe National Park.

"If we don't change something, they certainly will disappear, or be left in tiny pockets where they will struggle from inbreeding," said the 80-year-old, the first scientist to observe that apes as well as humans use tools.

Experts predict that at the current rate, human development will have impacted 90 percent of the apes' habitat in Africa and 99 percent in Asia by 2030, according to a UN-backed report last month.

Infrastructure development and extraction of natural resources—including timber, minerals, oil and gas—have devastated the prime habitat of apes and pushed chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans and gibbons closer to extinction.

For Goodall, the destruction is part of mankind's wider attack on nature.

"If we don't do anything to protect the environment, which we've already partially destroyed, I wouldn't want to be a child being born in 50 years' time," Goodall added.

"We're schizophrenic: we've got this amazing intelligence, but we seem to have lost the power of working in harmony with nature."

As well as a tragic loss, Goodall said the death of man's closet relatives would act as a stark warning sign of climate change and global warming.

"If we lose them (), it is probably because we have also lost the forests, and that would have a totally devastating impact on climate change," she said.

"Climate change is so evident everywhere. There are leaders who say they don't believe in , but I can't believe they really believe that, maybe they are just stupid."

Explore further: Planet of the dying apes: Experts alarmed over shrinking habitats

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Slavery' driving apes to extinction

Jul 01, 2014

Thousands of great apes are killed or trafficked into "slavery" each year in a multi-million dollar illegal trade that is driving some of man's closest relatives towards extinction, conservationists said ...

Man's relationship with nature gone wrong, expert says

Feb 10, 2013

Jane Goodall greets the audience by imitating a chimpanzee, then launches into an hour-long talk on her relationship with apes and how, from being a primatologist, she became an activist to protect them.

Not enough hours in the day for endangered apes

Jul 22, 2010

A study on the effect of global warming on African ape survival suggests that a warming climate may cause apes to run 'out of time'. The research, published today in Journal of Biogeography, reveals that rising temperatures and ch ...

Recommended for you

A vegetarian carnivorous plant

Dec 19, 2014

Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, ...

User comments : 26

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Modernmystic
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 29, 2014
"We're schizophrenic: we've got this amazing intelligence, but we seem to have lost the power of working in harmony with nature."

I appreciate the sentiment, and even agree with it to a point...however this is an entirely subjective and value laden statement. Objectively there is no "working in harmony with nature" because nature doesn't know what harmony is, it just does what it does. I've never heard nature say "hey, I'd like a little more harmony from you humans, lets try this plan....".

I've heard plenty of HUMAN BEINGS give their versions of what we should or shouldn't be doing with respect to the environment, but that's just one set of opinions after another.

IOW it's not a FACT, it's a discussion...
MrVibrating
5 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2014
A discussion..? That doesn't sound right.. i think you're confused.

Google - define:discussion;

the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.

"the committee acts as a forum for discussion"

a conversation or debate about a specific topic.
plural noun: discussions
"discussions about environmental improvement"

I've never heard nature say "hey, i'd like to discuss last night's Jersey Shore, let's crack some brewskies"...

IOW it's not a DISCUSSION, it's a reality TV show.
Arties
Jul 29, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Steve 200mph Cruiz
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 29, 2014
It truly saddens me to no end how westerners view animals, these creatures are as smart as elementary school kids, they can even learn crude sign language.
The fact that there are literally creatures out there that we can talk to, they can even share their emotions with us and even talk about death.
A world globally populated by humans, animals go extinct because it is not philosophically convenient to care about them, not because they couldn't compete in the natural world, for the mere fact that there are few natural spots left in this world.
The Native Americans, Hindus, Buddhists and even ancient Roman philosophies all valued the harmony of living with nature.
Objectively there is no "working in harmony with nature" because nature doesn't know what harmony is, it just does what it does

That's not what living with nature means. It's about acknowledging that you yourself are an animal supported by your ecosystem and becoming conscious of your impact on the ecosystem around you
grondilu
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014
> It's about acknowledging that you yourself are an animal supported by your ecosystem and becoming conscious of your impact on the ecosystem around you

" supported by your ecosystem ", maybe, but not a natural one. Most people are supported by a man-made ecosystem. It's precisely for this reason that people want to deforest and that is why the habitat of great apes is fading. Honestly I'm just surprised there are still non-human hominids living in the wild.

Unless you restrict people's right to develop in some authoritarian way, there's very little chance people can live in "harmony with nature".
grondilu
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014
> It truly saddens me to no end how westerners view animals, these creatures are as smart as elementary school kids, they can even learn crude sign language. The fact that there are literally creatures out there that we can talk to, they can even share their emotions with us and even talk about death.

This has nothing to do with anything. Even humans can get expropriated for development, and not always peacefully.
antialias_physorg
3.5 / 5 (6) Jul 30, 2014
"We're schizophrenic: we've got this amazing intelligence, but we seem to have lost the power of working in harmony with nature."

Nothing schizophrenic about it. We're just not good thinking long term (an ability that does not confer any significant survival value does not tend to develop). We're evolved for short term gain. Fighting that will be hard.

Especially against those who solely rely on even shorter term mechanisms (instinct, knee-jerk responses, what's-mine-is mine mentality, ...)...which is basically everyone.
grondilu
1 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2014
We're just not good thinking long term


In the long term, we're all dead. There is no "we" anyway. I'm not the one who is deforesting, and I won't blame people who do anyway. That's how they have found a way to earn their living I guess. If they value their lives more than they value the existence of great apes, who am I to judge them?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jul 30, 2014
I'm not the one who is deforesting

You and I are the ones who demand cheap goods - which creates a market for cheap wood or cheap land for grazing cattle - which in turn creates incentive to have people cut down rainforests.

Don't be so sure that we areN#t to blame, too.

To give an extreme example: Not only the hitman is guilty of killing someone. The guy who ordered the hit is not blameless.
Sinister1812
5 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2014
If they do go extinct, we lose our living relatives and only link to our past.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014

That's not what living with nature means.


Thank you for your opinion. Now are you interested in a discussion or just in you assuming you're opinion is a fact and telling me how "wrong" I am?

THAT'S what I meant...
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014
To give an extreme example: Not only the hitman is guilty of killing someone. The guy who ordered the hit is not blameless.


Nature has no concept of hitmen, it has no concept of blame, it has no concept of ordered. Those are all human constructs that we subjectively apply to an objectively amoral system....
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jul 30, 2014
Nature has no concept of hitmen, it has no concept of blame, it has no concept of ordered.

We do. If we act as if we're not at fault for our own extinction then certainly nature doesn't care. But WE should, since the wish to survive is one of the things that every individual alive (and not currently contemplating suicide or being psychotically homicidal) can agree on.

Just saying "nature doesn't care, so I'll keep on polluting until humanity goes extinct" is not a sane approach.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2014
Just saying "nature doesn't care, so I'll keep on polluting until humanity goes extinct" is not a sane approach.


I couldn't agree more.

I'm NOT saying that. I'm SAYING...if you LISTEN...that "you" are not automatically "right" about what "you" think we should or shouldn't be doing with respect to the environment. I'm saying that it is a DISCUSSION amongst human beings....nature is absent, literally absent, in the discussion.
rockwolf1000
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 30, 2014

I'm NOT saying that. I'm SAYING...if you LISTEN...that "you" are not automatically "right" about what "you" think we should or shouldn't be doing with respect to the environment. I'm saying that it is a DISCUSSION amongst human beings....nature is absent, literally absent, in the discussion.


Thank you for your opinion. Now are you interested in a discussion or just in you assuming you're opinion is a fact and telling me how "wrong" I am?


Is that so? It wasn't that long ago when you tried to convince me that the earth could support 20 TRILLION people. You offered no supporting evidence yet were convinced that your "opinion" was correct.
krundoloss
3 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2014
It would be ideal if we could live in harmony with nature, in such a way that everything we produce would degrade and cycle back into the natural cycles that exist on our planet. We are working toward that goal.
As others have said, the problem exists in the minds of the people that make the decision to choose their own well-being over the well-being of natural systems. Would you yourself clear an acre of rainforest if it meant that your family would survive? I bet you would, and that is the problem.
Its not that Westerners do not care about animals, or have no respect for them, its quite simply that they are not willing to sacrifice their own quality of life for the well being of animals. The worst decisions are made for economic reasons, and those have the greatest impacts. Why build an expensive solar plant when you have so much unburned coal laying in the ground? Why use an electric car with limited range when you can get a cheaper gas car and all the convenience it brings?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014
Is that so? It wasn't that long ago when you tried to convince me that the earth could support 20 TRILLION people. You offered no supporting evidence yet were convinced that your "opinion" was correct.


No, that's not true. You assumed your opinion was a fact and never even ASKED me to explain my side. I never got a chance to "convince you" of anything. Go back and re-read the thread. You just kind of stamped your feet and crossed your arms....sorta like now.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014

No, that's not true. You assumed your opinion was a fact and never even ASKED me to explain my side. I never got a chance to "convince you" of anything. Go back and re-read the thread. You just kind of stamped your feet and crossed your arms....sorta like now.


Actually that is a claim that you did make so it's very true. I never asked you to explain because I went on vacation and forgot all about that nonsense for a while.

What makes you think I'm stamping my feet and crossing my arms? (BTW - People stomp their feet not stamp their feet. Unless they are applying postage to their extremities for some reason)

I'm just stating the facts. Something you struggle with daily.

Why don't you try to explain how the earth could support 20 TRILLION people when it's faltering with only 7 BILLION????
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014
Why don't you try to explain how the earth could support 20 TRILLION people when it's faltering with only 7 BILLION????


For the same reason we went from 3 million people pre-agrarian to hundreds of millions after agriculture, and then to billions after the industrial revolution. Basically because population is in large part a function of technology.

This is way off topic here though. I was really discussing why people who assume their opinions are facts by virtue of simply having what they consider an Eco-centric point of view are objectively incorrect.

I'm happy to continue the discussion though, with the caveat that it stays civil.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014

For the same reason we went from 3 million people pre-agrarian to hundreds of millions after agriculture, and then to billions after the industrial revolution. Basically because population is in large part a function of technology.

This is way off topic here though. I was really discussing why people who assume their opinions are facts by virtue of simply having what they consider an Eco-centric point of view are objectively incorrect.


Ok. And I was just saying that you seem to have issue with other people offering their opinion while you do just that without reservation.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2014

Ok. And I was just saying that you seem to have issue with other people offering their opinion while you do just that without reservation.


Quite the contrary. I have no issue with people offering their opinions, I welcome it. I learn much more from people I disagree with rather than talking to mirrors....what I take issue with is people pretending their opinions (and even values/morals) are facts.
Dr_toad
Jul 30, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Steve 200mph Cruiz
5 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2014
This discussion is a complete case in point of my comment earlier, most westerners view nature as something separate from them, not something that they are a contributing part of. As a duck finds a new home and a fish looses one when a beaver moves in, we got raccoons and pigeons a at the cost of a rainforest.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2014
If you learn so much, it's sort of puzzling that you run your mouth after correction on basic principles.

Is there some other problem you want to share?


Correction? Please do clarify.

Is there some other problem you want to share?


Is that an attempt at an ad-hom because you are feeling threatened by what I'm saying?
krundoloss
4.7 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2014
This discussion is a complete case in point of my comment earlier, most westerners view nature as something separate from them, not something that they are a contributing part of.


Could be that because of our higher intelligence, which is unique, almost Unnatural in itself, Does in fact separate us from nature, in that we can manipulate it. Why would we not view ourselves differently? We seek to be in harmony, but not if it affects stock prices!

And by the way, you saying "westerners" think this way. What about China? They pollute heavily, destroying environments left and right, but maybe they just think about it differently huh?

NeutronicallyRepulsive
1 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2014
I don't think we can help it at this moment so to speak. I think civilization is a function of our species as well as the mounds are function of the termites. We have broader range, but we still are just the vectors adding into one big vector of humanity. I would like to save them, I'm willing to save them, I'm willing to convince someone else to think as I do, but that's just it. If it doesn't pan out, we've tried, but it just wasn't possible. If it were, it would happen. I hope this will be possible. I would like to see some kind of reservation in a country that actually can protect these animals. Main problem is that their habitat is in the countries where this cannot be achieved. That's just sad. But I don't spend much time yearning for Tasmanian tiger. I don't won't to sound cruel, but realistically. Only some future scientists, niche pet lovers and people who lived in the era where apes were alive will miss them more intensively. But I'm one of them. So I hope it won't happen.
phorbin
5 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2014
What makes you think I'm stamping my feet and crossing my arms? (BTW - People stomp their feet not stamp their feet. Unless they are applying postage to their extremities for some reason)


It's a good image and worth a chuckle but stomp is a variant spelling of stamp.
rockwolf1000
not rated yet Aug 05, 2014
What makes you think I'm stamping my feet and crossing my arms? (BTW - People stomp their feet not stamp their feet. Unless they are applying postage to their extremities for some reason)


It's a good image and worth a chuckle but stomp is a variant spelling of stamp.


Couldn't disagree more. The variation in spelling changes the sound of the word and its meaning.

See here: http://en.wikiped...ki/Stamp

When people use stamp when they mean stomp it's simply because they don't speak correctly.

Whi peuple thunk thay con go eround sobstituting vowals it wyll is beyind mi.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.