The Great Apes only differ 1.5% in DNA from us humans. Much of their behaviors has given us insights on our own behavior.
Yet, we humans are solely responsible for the fact that Great Apes are on the verge of extinction. For the sake of corporate profits and shareholders value we destroy their natural habitat on a scale beyond imagination. Ruthlessly and without any moral compass.
I cannot escape from myself and had to something. As a volunteer I work every Friday as a Chimpanzee caretaker @Stichting AAP in the Nethrelands. Twice a year a I travel to Great Ape rescue centers in Asia and Africa to help with various projects.
But rescuing and potential rehabilitating orphaned Great Apes are only addressing the symptoms and not the wider underlying problems. I learned along the way that without (local) human involvement you can not practise conservation.
Outreach programs to local communities are equally important. To work together for instance on sustainable methods for agriculture and to show them the benefits of preserving their natural habitat.
But law enforcement and education are also crucial as are raising public awareness and funds.
And when I am not working ‘in the field’, I write. About Chimpanzees, Orangutans, Gorilla’s and the threats they deal with such as deforestation, trafficing and poaching. By blogging, by sharing my insights and adventures on Social Media and by raising funds. And by giving presentations and holding talks I hope to increase engagement.
With the the Go Ape Foundation we help and support initiatives and NGO's who rescue and rehabilitate Great Apes that are threatened with extinction as well as their natural habitat.