Great Apes and Humans: The Ethics of Coexistence

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Overview

The great apes — gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans — are known to be our closest living relatives. Chimpanzees in particular share 98 percent of our DNA, and scientists widely agree that they exhibit intellectual abilities long thought to be unique to humans, such as self-awareness and the ability to interpret the moods and identify the needs of others. The close relation of apes to humans raises important ethical questions. Are they better protected in the wild or in zoos? Should they be used in biomedical research? Should they be afforded the same legal protections as humans?

Great Apes and Humans is the first book to present a spectrum of viewpoints on human responsibilities toward great apes. A variety of field biologists, academic scientists, zoo professionals, psychologists, sociologists, ethicists, and legal scholars consider apes in both the wild and captivity. They present sobering statistics on the declining numbers of wild apes, specifically discussing the decimation of great ape populations due to wild game consumption. They explore the role of apes in the educational missions of zoos as well as the need for sanctuaries for wild ape orphans and former research subjects. After examining the social division between apes and humans from historical, evolutionary, and cognitive perspectives, they conclude by reviewing the current moral and legal status of great apes as well as how apes' cognitive skills inform these issues.

Although this provocative book contains many different opinions, the uniting concern of the contributors is the safety and well-being of great apes. Only by continuing the dialogue so clearly presented here can we hope to ensure their future.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
The outgrowth of a workshop held at the Disney Institute in Lake Buena Vista, FL, in June 1998, this volume explores concerns related to the welfare of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans held in captivity for breeding programs and other purposes. The contributors—field biologists, academic scientists, zoo professionals, psychologists, sociologists, ethicists, and legal scholars—consider apes in the wild and in captivity, examining the social division between apes and humans from historical, evolutionary, and cognitive perspectives and reviewing the current moral and legal status of great apes as well as how apes' cognitive skills inform these issues. Foreword by Jane Gooddall. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560989691
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 8/17/2001
  • Series: Zoo & Aquarium Bio & Conservtn Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin B. Beck is an associate director at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park.

Tara S. Stoinski is coordinator of primate research at Zoo Atlanta.

Michael Hutchins is director of conservation and science at the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

Terry L. Maple is president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta.

Bryan Norton is a professor of philosophy at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Andrew Rowan is senior vice president for research, education and international issues at the Human Society of the United States.

Elizabeth F. Stevens is director of animal programs operations at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Arnold Arluke is professor of anthropology and sociology at Northeastern University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword: Problems Faced by Wild and Captive Chimpanzees: Finding Solutions Part 2 I. Great Apes in the Wild Chapter 3 1. Africa's Great Apes Chapter 4 2. The Orangutan and the Conservation Battle in Indonesia Chapter 5 3. Bushmeat Hunting and the Great Apes Chapter 6 4. Bushmeat Trade in the Congo Basin Part 7 II. Great Apes in Captivity Chapter 8 5. Captive Apes and Zoo Education Chapter 9 6. Sanctuaries for Ape Refugees Chapter 10 7. The Retirement of Research Apes Part 11 III. History and Evolution Chapter 12 8. Negotiating the Ape-Human Boundary Chapter 13 9. Phylogenies, Fossils, and Feelings Chapter 14 10. Darwinian Reflections on Our Fellow Apes Part 15 IV. Ethics, Morality, and Law Chapter 16 11. Conceptual Capacities of Chimpanzees Chapter 17 12. Moral Decisions about Wild Chimpanzees Chapter 18 13. The Grand Apes Chapter 19 14. Cognitive Relatives and Moral Relations Chapter 20 15. A Great Shout: Legal Rights for Great Apes Chapter 21 16. Inclusivist Ethics Chapter 22 17. The Moral Status of Great Apes Chapter 23 18. Rights or Welfare: A Response to the Great Ape Project Chapter 24 19. Perspectives on the Ethical Status of Great Apes

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