With the passing of Dr. Shirley McGreal the primates have lost a true friend, and conservation has lost a true hero. I remember when I first met Shirley – years and years ago! – and went to visit the gibbons she had rescued in South Carolina. Starting with her love for gibbons, Shirley built up the gibbon sanctuary, and founded her organization IPPL that has made a difference to thousands of primates and also to the many people working to conserve them in different parts of the world.
Shirley was compassionate, passionate, committed – and courageous. She was not afraid to tackle anything and as a result went through some devastating law suits, all of which she won.
The successive editions of the IPPL magazine chronicled her extraordinary career and have always been filled with stories of the different missions she undertook and their successful outcomes, along with heart breaking examples of the terrible cruelty she saw repeatedly – along with the happy outcomes as, one after the other, different individuals were rescued.
It is hard to think of the world without Shirley, but she has built up a team of committed people in different countries who will all carry on her work. Her spirit will remain with us.