By Patricia Marks (Letter to the Editor)
Chimpanzees share 98 percent of our genetic heritage and many of the characteristics that we think of as human.
Chimpanzees form strong family bonds where big sisters "adopt" younger siblings after the death of a mother.
They laugh and play, nurture and teach their young, and display a wide range of emotions, including profound grief when a family member dies.
These special characteristics don't protect chimpanzees from greed, inhumanity, or the desperate conditions that drive people who hunt them.
They and other endangered species are targets of the illegal commercial bushmeat trade, the hunting of wild animals to supply the growing demand for wild meat.
This appalling practice is not driven by the need to feed starving local people or to help them have a better life. Instead, bushmeat ends up in city markets and expensive restaurants throughout Equatorial Africa. Bushmeat can also be found in international markets around the world, even in the United States.
"Delicacies" like gorilla hands also find their way to the tables of the wealthy, not only in African countries, but around the globe.
In one instance, researchers found an estimated 270 tons of bushmeat passing through Paris alone. It is considered a status symbol, what it really is is a crime.
Those who are motivated by the moral and ethical code of living need to urge your members of the House and Senate to support efforts to stop the International trade of endangered species and discourage irresponsible logging and other destructive activities in protected areas. In this geographical area, contact Representative Matt Cartwright, and Senators Robert Casey and Pat Toomey. Names of legislators for particular districts can be found on line. For more information contact www.janegoodall.org