Men tend to dominate the politics and face of great ape conservation, but the reality is work in the trenches is being done by-in-large by some of the most remarkable women on Earth. We celebrate three, “Leaky’s Ladies” — Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Mary Galdikas — most of the new generation of women however are, unfortunately, slaving in the shadows. They are common names like Rachel, Lisa, Tara, Martha, Teresa, Karmele, Gail, and list goes on, but there is nothing common about what they do and what they sacrifice on behalf of saving great apes. If I have one role in this bigger great ape story it will be to make the world more aware of these women: their sacrifice, courage and dedication. Regardless if great apes survive in the wild, this planet owes them, for never giving up, despite enormous odds.
(Pictured, Dir. Dr. Karmele Llano Sanchez, Yayasan IR – International Animal Rescue West Kalimantan, Borneo)
2015-2016 Global research and reporting on great apes made possible in part through the generous financial support of the Philadelphia Zoo