World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall said at her public talk titled “Reasons for hope: A Message from Dr Jane Goodall” at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) yesterday that she is shocked to learn that in Malaysia, people can actually buy a baby gibbon thinking how cute and pet them. She equated the act with forcibly taking human babies away from their families.
“People are buying baby orangutans, buying little monkeys, this is rather like taking a small human child away from their family because all these primates have strong family bonds,” she added.
“They don’t belong in people’s homes and in many cases, it usually ends in tragedy... sometimes the owner gets tired when the animal becomes adult and the animal ends up in a bad zoo,” she said. Yet, there is still hope, she said.
Goodall had her long-term study of wild chimpanzees in the 1960s, and now spends most of her time traveling around the world and learning about the problems faced by the different segments from mankind to nature. She delivered her insight for the first time in Penang and this is her 3rd visit to Malaysia, altogether. The talk was organized by The Habitat Foundation in partnership with Roots & Shoots Malaysia, with support from USM and Malaysian Primatological Society.
She said we should be a reason for them to grow and thrive.
she quoted “Malaysians are lucky. You have so many animals on the brink of extinction, many of your primates, hornbills and other extraordinary animals that are your children’s heritage are at risk of extinction but it is not too late if people care enough, it can be reversed,”
She said, “New oil palm plantations that had destroyed important old forests, these can be reversed... it can still give way to nature and give nature a chance to grow back,”.
Also in her talk, she apologized to all the younger generation on behalf of her generation, the generation before and the current elder generation for “stealing their future.” However, she firmly believes that all is not lost as there is still time to turn things around for the planet. She is counting on a window of time and thinks if everyone gets together to make full use of this time, there is still hope for the planet to survive in a much better way.
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