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In the last 30 years the bushmeat trade has led to the slaughter of nearly 90 percent of West Africa’s bonobos, perhaps our closest relatives, and has recently driven Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey to extinction. Earth was once rich with primates, but every species – except one – is now extinct or endangered because of one primate – Homo sapiens. How have our economic and cultural practices pushed our cousins toward destruction? Would we care more about their fate if we knew something of their individual lives and sufferings? Would we help them if we understood how our choices threaten their existence? This anthology helps to answer these questions.
The first section of Primate People introduces forces that threaten nonhuman primates, such as the entertainment and "pet" industries, the bushmeat trade, habitat destruction, and logging. The second section exposes the exploitation of primates in research facilities, including the painful memories of an undercover agent, and suggests models of more enlightened scientific methods. The final section tells the stories of those who lobby for change, educate communities, and tenderly care for our displaced cousins in sanctuaries.
Sometimes shocking and disturbing, sometimes poignant and encouraging, Primate People always draws the reader into the lives of nonhuman primates. Activists around the world reveal the antics and pleasures of monkeys, the tendencies and idiosyncrasies of chimpanzees, and the sufferings and fears of macaques. Charming, difficult, sensitive – these testimonies demonstrate that nonhuman primates and human beings are, indeed, closely related. Woven into the anthology’s lucid narratives are the stories of how we harm and create the conditions that endanger primates, and what we can and must do to prevent their ongoing suffering and fast-approaching extinction.
Foreword ~ Marc Bekoff
Introduction ~ Lisa Kemmerer
PART I: Foundations
1. Primate Basics ~ Linda D. Wolfe
2. International Primate Conservation: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ~ Birgith Sloth
3. Friends of the Earth Malaysia ~ Phaik Kee Lim
4. Looking Up, Counting Down ~ Noga and Sam Shanee
5. International Primate Protection League: A Wonderful Life ~ Shirley McGreal
PART II: Research
6. Paper Lives ~ Michael A. Budkie
7. 16162 ~ Matt Rossell
8. Monkeys, Malaria, and My Work in Miami ~ Juan Pablo Perea-Rodriguez
9. Learning from Macaques ~ Linda D. Wolfe
10. The Winding Path to Where I Stand: Becoming a Primatologist ~ Debra Durham
PART III: Sanctuaries
11. Born to Be Wild: Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary ~ Barbara G. Cox
12. Loving and Learning ~ Deborah D. Misotti
13. Some Baboons in My CARE: Saba, Einstein, George Bush, Nathan,
Snare-Boy, Tripsy, and Giovanni ~ Rita Miljo
14. A Veterinarian with Conviction ~ Karmele Llano Sanchez
15. Volunteering in Thailand: The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project ~ Fiona Mikowski
16. Friends Are the Family We Choose ~ Paula Muellner
17. ¡Comejenes y Terremotos! (Termites and Earthquakes!) ~ Keri Cairns
18. Singe ~ Helen Thirlway
19. Soiled Hands ~ Sangamithra Iyer
Appendix: Opportunities to Work with Primates
List of Contributors
References and Suggested Reading
Lisa Kemmerer is an associate professor of philosophy and religions at Montana State University, Billings. She has published numerous scholarly articles and has authored or edited several books, including Animals and World Religions and Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice. She is a philosopher-activist determined to work against oppression, whether on behalf of nonhuman animals, the environment, or disempowered human beings.
"Collectively, these essays are an urgent call to action for humans, since it is our greed and indifference that have pushed nonhuman primates into this rapid rate of extinction. Strongly recommended for general readers interested in primate conservation and the ethical issues surrounding the human exploitation of primates."
- Library Journal
"A significant contribution to the field of critical animal studies [...] but also to environmental ethics, law, biology, cognitive ethology, philosophy, and the social sciences. A useful and moving book."
- Carol Gigliotti, editor of Leonardo's Choice: Genetic Technologies and Animals