From the biological point of view, between two human beings there can be a difference of 0,5% in the DNA. Between a man and a chimpanzee this difference is only 1,23%. This similarity is proved, for instance, with the fact that chimpanzees can donate blood to humans, and vice-versa. Today it’s also known that chimpanzees, bonobos and men had an ancestor in common two million years ago.
Considering these facts, the exploitation of great primates in laboratories, circus, entertainment shows and zoos can be considered a kind of slavery, reminding what men used to do with others of his own kind who were considered to be inferior a little bit more than one century ago. And this exploitation is followed by a big drop on the number of great primates in the African and Asian forests, their natural habitats, which causes impacts on the environmental balance of the ecosystems.
GAP UK defends the rights of the great primates to live in liberty in their natural habitats. If this right is not respected and they become mistreating victims, probably it won’t be able to release them in the forests. Consequently, the mission turns to provide the best quality of life and state of welfare for the animals in captivity. At the sanctuaries, chimpanzees are treated of physical – mutilation and teeth extraction – and psychological traumas and stress caused by a life in the cage. They have the chance to recover from the bad traumas, to form social groups and even to reproduce, as they do in nature.
“A chimpanzee is not a pet and can not be used as an object for fun or scientific experiment. He or she thinks, develops affection, hates, suffers, learns and even transmits knowledge. To sum it up, they are just like us. The only difference is that they don’t speak, but they communicate through gestures, sounds and facial expressions. We need to guarantee their rights to life and to liberty”, explains Dr. Pedro A. Ynterian, Director of GAP International.