What would you say if I told you great apes like chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans may disappear from the wild within eight years?
Would you be shocked?
Would you feel a wave of disbelief?
Would you feel sad?
According to the world’s experts on great apes this number seems to hold true. Would this make you change anything about the way you live your life?
I have long known that all the great apes were greatly endangered from civil war, habitat loss, illegal bush meat trade, climate change, among other problems depending on the area and species, but to hear that number – 8 years – is shocking, heartbreaking, infuriating, and a motivator to find what I can do differently to allow for a different outcome.
What Did I Learn About the Plight of Great Apes?
I learned many people don’t even know the difference between a monkey and an ape.
I learned the zoos focused on education and conservation may well be our allies in the fight against species extinction through man-made destruction and could perhaps be a solution to bringing back the wild populations of these animals.
I learned that many people have no idea some of their day-to-day decisions can impact great apes halfway around the world. Unfortunately because they don’t all live in the same are, different actions must be taken. That can be a hard pill for the average person to swallow.
I learned that the Girl Scouts have opted to start using sustainable palm oil, which when I think of the number of cookies they make could be important, but when I think of their cookies versus all the other products on the market using palm oil – 50% of the products on a supermarket’s shelves – we are far from making a big impact.
I learned once again that becoming a conscientious consumer can, and does, make a difference in the world.
Want to know what to look for so you can become a conscientious, aware, consumer, and start to make an impact on the lives of great apes everywhere? Come back for Part 2.