See Disneynature’s “Chimpanzee” Through May 3, Help Chimps

April 24th, 2012

(I recently had the pleasure to talk with Jane Goodall – Ph.D., DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace – during a Q&A call with other bloggers. Here’s some of what we talked about!)

“It’s unprecedented really,” says Dr. Jane Goodall about the special relationship that’s shown in Disneynature’s movie Chimpanzee,” which opened April 20.

What’s so “unprecedented” is that the alpha male of the chimpanzee group, Freddy, adopts an orphaned chimp, Oscar, who would have perished without the leader’s help.

According to Goodall, there’s only “one observation of an alpha male adopting an infant in the last 53 years from the chimpanzee study site and nobody knows why that happened.” However, Goodall says that Freddie’s ultimate adoration of Oscar “just shows that these big, tough males have a soft side, a gentler side.”

UPDATE: The opening weekend of “Chimpanzee” was a 10.6 million dollar success, so Disneynature is celebrating by extending the “See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees” benefit through May 3.

That means when you see the movie through May 3, a donation will be made to the Jane Goodall Institute to help chimpanzees who face threats like deforestation, as well as little chimps who’ve been orphaned by the bushmeat trade.

So, what should you expect when you go see “Chimpanzee?”  Goodall predicts you’ll fall in love with little Oscar. “There’s no way you can’t,” suggests Goodall. The movie, which is kid-friendly, doesn’t show any gory details, no dead animal bodies. Rather, it’s beautifully filmed to help viewers really get to know the rainforest.

Goodall, who was not involved with the production of the film, says, “The shots showing you what it’s like down deep in the forest are amazing.”

Indeed, you’ll not only see shots of intricate forest details from the ground, but from above –revealing the unspeakable splendor of the waterfalls.

Goodall says she has “enormous admiration” for the filmmakers who braved vicious biting army ants, bees, and high heat and humidity to “crawl through the vegetation with really heavy loads on their backs.” On that note, I’d like to remind you to stay through the credits. You’ll get to meet the filmmakers and see a few forest encounters.

If you, like Goodall predicts, fall in love with Oscar, then please do try to help chimpanzees. You can do that by learning more at the Jane Goodall Institute, and by finding out more about the program for kids and college students called Roots & Shoots, which is now in 120 countries. Roots & Shoots gets young people involved in community service projects to help make the world a better place.

Goodall sums up the main message for us all:

Every single one of us makes a difference, every single day. If we would just think about the consequences of the choices we make—what we buy, what we wear, what we eat. How did that affect the environment? Did it involve cruelty to animals? Did this involve sweat shop labor in other countries? If we just start thinking that way, and thinking about choices we make, like turning taps off, and saving electricity, and riding a bicycle if possible—these kinds of little things.

If you’ve seen “Chimpanzee,” please share your thoughts with us!