Planet Without Apes demands that we consider whether we can live with the consequences of wiping our closest relatives off the face of the Earth. Leading primatologist Craig Stanford warns that extinction of the great apes – chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans – threatens to become a reality within just a few human generations. We are on the verge of losing the last links to our evolutionary past, and to all the biological knowledge about ourselves that would die along with them. The crisis we face is tantamount to standing aside while our last extended family members vanish from the planet.
Stanford sees great apes as not only intelligent but also possessed of a culture: both toolmakers and social beings capable of passing cultural knowledge down through generations. Compelled by his field research to take up the cause of conservation, he is unequivocal about where responsibility for extinction of these species lies. Our extermination campaign against the great apes has been as brutal as the genocide we have long practiced on one another. In Planet Without Apes, Stanford shows how complicity is shared by people far removed from apes’ shrinking habitats. We learn about extinction’s complex links with cell phones, European meat eaters, and ecotourism, along with the effects of Ebola virus, poverty, and political instability.
Even the most environmentally concerned observers are unaware of many specific threats faced by great apes. With Planet Without Apes, Stanford fills us in, and then tells us how we can redirect the course of an otherwise bleak future.
Prologue: Save the Apes!
1. Heart of Darkness
5. In a Not-So-Gilded Cage
6. The Double-Edged Sword
Epilogue: May There Always Be Apes
Craig B. Stanford is Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology and Co-Director of the Jane Goodall Research Center at the University of Southern California.
"Craig Stanford’s new book appears at a turning point: will we take active steps to save our ape sibling species or accept certain disgrace in the eyes of coming generations?"
- Roger Fouts, Professor Emeritus, Central Washington University
“Craig Stanford’s book makes compelling reading. In the past fifty years we have learned so much about our closest relatives the Great Apes. They have helped us better understand our own behavior. Now it is our turn to help them, and when you read this book, you will realize that we MUST.”
- Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute, and U.N. Messenger of Peace