For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by nonhuman great apes. For a time it was just an interest that added to my overall identity – like how some people like owls, or koala bears, or unicorns.
I admired “Leakey’s Ladies” – Dian Fosey, Jane Goodall, and Birute Gladikas – and daydreamed about following in their footsteps.
In truth, though, my fascination came prior to developing a true understanding and compassion for nonhuman apes. It was just an intense curiosity.
They are, after all, so familiar in some ways.
So like humans, yet different – exotic
Luckily, I happened upon the right people at the right time and was ready to rethink this fascination and the historical relationship that humans have had to other apes.
Human curiosity can lead to a lot of destruction when it is not balanced with compassion.
Now I wonder what the world would be like today if humans weren’t so curious about other species. What if we just left them alone instead of bringing them into our world to study them and then use them for our own benefit?
We can’t go backwards, though. The human world has clashed and combined and intertwined with the worlds of other animals. So there are places like Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, where we try to make up for wrongs committed against other species, and we try to demonstrate and spread compassion for our closest living relatives, and for other nonhuman animals too.
Our curiosity is just as strong, if not stronger, but hopefully compassion combined with fascination makes for a more hopeful future for all species who share this planet.