Tuesday, September 17, 2002

THREATENING OUR COUSINS WITH EXTINCTION

Ape alarm in West Africa
By Paul Welsh BBC, Abidjan

The chimpanzees of West Africa are under threat.

Hunting for bushmeat, logging and human encroachment are all reducing their numbers to dangerously low levels.

One of mankind's closest living relatives is in danger of being wiped out by its evolutionary cousin.

When you see a mother chimp with its offspring it looks for all the world like a woman with her spoilt little child. But it is actually becoming an increasingly rare sight - western chimpanzees in the West African forest.

The mother peels fruit for an impatient youngster sitting on the floor beside her. The youngster beats its hands on the ground and wails at its mother, pleading with her to go faster....