We haven’t done a lot on animals/mammals here at Eco Chick, but it seems to me that our relationship with other species is a huge part of our societal experience. Some say I am anthropomorphizing other creatures, and that my passion for animal rights is sentimental at best. I think that being raised on National Geographic PBS specials, picture books of oceanic tours with Jacques Cousteau, and being taught to support the WWF made me predisposed to this ‘big-hearted naivety,’ and I am grateful to my father for always exposing me to the natural world.
The other night I saw a show done by PBS’ Nature called “Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History,” that traces the way chimps have been treated in Western culture. Used for space travel, scientific testing, and for entertainment in Hollywood, this creature, that has 99% of the same DNA as humans (closer to us genetically than they are to gorillas,) has suffered horrifying injustices. Some of the chimps shown on the program had not been out of a cage or felt sunlight for fifteen years. This moving study shows the chimps being transported from a bio-medical facility in New Mexico to an island in Florida that was created for them to be free and enjoy their final years in peace without ever having the threat of going back into a laboratory. Save The Chimps, headed by Carole Noon, Ph.D., was founded when the U.S. Air Force announced it was “getting out of the chimpanzee research business.” STC built the sanctuary in Florida for the chimps only. There is no gift shop, there are no viewing pens, and there is no exploitation. If you are interested in volunteering, donating, or giving a memorable gift this year, check out the site of this benevolent organization. You can do everything from donate money to sending some cran-raisins for an adopted chimp. I plan to take my kids to do some volunteer work one day as a mini eco-vacation.