Wildlife photographer Nichols describes the current status of gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) in the wild and in captivity, bringing us up-to-date on field studies by Jane Goodall, Birute Galdikas, and other researchers covered by the National Geographic Society since the early 1960s. Some progress has been made in the humane treatment of apes in zoos and labs, but conditions in their native habitats have deteriorated due to deforestation, poaching, and warfare (this book was published too soon to cover the latest violence in Rwanda, home of the mountain gorillas). Brief essays by Goodall, George Schaller, and National Geographic editor Mary G. Smith are included. Other recent titles such as The Great Ape Project (LJ 12/93) cover much of this material in more detail, but the marvelous photographs and the engaging text make this book ideal for general readers.-Beth Clewis, Prince William P.L., Va.
School Library Journal
YA-Four authors-a National Geographic senior editor, a photojournalist, and two of the world's most influential primatologists-composed this paean to the vanishing great apes. Dense with the type of photographs familiar to readers of National Geographic, this study of gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and the lesser-known bonobos is both joyous and sad. In the first half, apes are shown in their natural habitats as they have been studied by Dian Fossey, Goodall, and others. More disturbing is the second half of the book, which is devoted to apes in various forms of captivity around the world. Chimpanzees as street entertainers and laboratory subjects, gorilla parts for sale in a Congo fetish market, and baby orangutans confiscated from the Taiwanese pet trade underscore the myriad dangers the human world poses for the remaining great apes. Balancing this grim information are scenes of the human helpers trying to prevent extinction and to reintroduce some victimized animals back to the wild. The short essays that accompany the photographs are informative without being technical. They include a history of research on apes and descriptions of studying them in their natural habitats. YAs will find this book both a touching and thought-provoking experience.-Carolyn E. Gecan, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Nichols's words (along with contributions by Jane Goodall, George B. Schaller, and Mary G. Smith) and 100 of his photos recount a decade of adventure among the apes, including visits to the forests of Africa and Indonesia and to the man-made environments of zoos and research centers. Elegantly produced. Includes a listing of agencies and research projects, but no bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)