Young People Are Giving Back to Chimpanzees in Oregon

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The entertainment industry is no stranger to exploiting chimpanzees. Chimpanzees and other great apes, including bonobos and gorillas, are endangered (both in captivity and in their natural habitats) with an estimated 340,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild. Despite this fact, Hollywood and unaccredited roadside attractions still misuse chimpanzees for entertainment, encouraging them to perform unnatural human acts and live in terrible conditions. Fortunately, this mistreatment has not gone unnoticed by young people like you, as a Roots & Shoots group in Oregon is taking action on behalf of chimpanzees!

A Roots & Shoots group in Bend, Oregon, worked to raise awareness about the problems associated with raising wild chimpanzees in inadequate captive environments (especially in the entertainment industry), while providing for rescued chimps currently residing in sanctuaries. As JGI’s Roots & Shoots program teaches and supports young people in identifying problems in their local or larger community, and encourages the creation of holistic solutions, these young people were inspired to do their part. Each year, to support chimpanzees rescued from poor captive environments, this team of compassionate young people craft edible necklaces for the chimpanzees at Chimps Inc. Sanctuary through their Chimp Enrichment Necklace Project.

Enrichment is defined as “any item that promotes physical activity, mental stimulation, or play to ensure the chimpanzees’ well-being.” Biologically, chimpanzees are equipped with large brains and strong bodies, and in captivity there are many barriers to their social and physical stimulation. Through enrichment, chimps are more capable of happily and healthily navigating the environment of their sanctuaries. In JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary in the Republic of Congo, rescued chimpanzees are even given the enrichment option of painting, and many chimps love this activity! (You can get your very own Amazon chimpanzee art print on JGI’s eStore here.)

This Roots & Shoots team of 26 had the opportunity to learn about each chimpanzee at Chimp Inc., including the story of their abuse prior to their arrival at the sanctuary. This year, the team successfully crafted 40 edible necklaces while educating their community about the perils of chimpanzees’ mistreatment in entertainment or other unfit captive environments, and the importance of chimpanzee enrichment.

Learning about the history and conditions of the chimps prior to living in the sanctuary helped these compassionate citizens grow their empathy and critical thinking skills. By understanding the negative experiences these sanctuary chimps went through before being taken to the sanctuary, this Roots & Shoots team was able to work together to support and serve their animal community with tangible action, while inspiring hope within themselves and their peers.

Thankfully, we can all learn from the Roots & Shoots Oregon team’s example. There are many ways we can raise awareness for chimpanzees in inadequate captive environments and support them. Let’s get started:

Educating yourself is the first step! Learn more about stopping the use of chimpanzees in entertainment through reading JGI’s Good For All News blog about #StoptheShow, a campaign to end the use of chimpanzees in entertainment, here.

Do a One-Click Action right now! You and your friends can also participate in the Jane Goodall Institute’s StoptheShow campaign through the R&S Stop the Show One-Click here.

Sign Our Petition! To learn more about the true cost of chimpanzees in entertainment, and to do something about it, sign JGI’s petition to encourage policy makers to remove chimpanzees from the entertainment industry and clear any misconceptions about perceived benefits to their exposure in popular media.

Want to start your own project for chimpanzees for World Chimpanzee Day July 14th? You can learn more about other Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots projects and get started on your very own today!


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The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Shelby Dye is the Community Engagement Associate at the Jane Goodall Institute for Roots & Shoots, where she works to connect young people to Dr. Jane Goodall's vision and the JGI mission. Shelby graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.A. in Physical Anthropology and a B.A. in Journalism with a focus on advertising and public relations. Shelby is experienced in influencer marketing and public relations for non-profits. When she's not busy exploring the wonderful world of media, she likes learning new dance moves and reciting Disney movies word-for-word.