Jane Goodall: Great Apes Will Face Extinction This Decade Unless We Act Now
In a dramatic (and harrowing) call to arms, primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall announced that the world is likely to lose its wild great apes in the coming decade unless action is taken now.
"If we don't take action the great apes will disappear, because of both habitat destruction as well as trafficking," Goodall told AFP in an interview in Nairobi.
Humans' closest relatives have seen massive declines in recent years -- chimps alone have gone from two million individuals to just 300,000. And according to a UN report, by 2030 human development will have impacted 90 percent of great apes' habitat in Africa and 99 percent in Asia.
Orangutans, chimps, gorillas, bonobos and other apes have taken the brunt of the force of development, losing their habitats to timber logging and natural resource extraction. The issue is bigger than just apes, Goodall said.
"If we lose them [apes], it is probably because we have also lost the forests, and that would have a totally devastating impact on climate change," she said, noting that the effects of climate change are already "evident everywhere."
The potential loss of the great apes is another example of humans' lack of care when it comes to managing natural resources, Goodall said.
"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."