Renowned naturalist and conservationist Sir David Attenborough has joined with acclaimed directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield to reinforce the importance of preserving chimpanzee habitat.
Speaking to the audience following a special screening of Disneynature’s latest cinema release Chimpanzee at the Barbican, the three veterans of natural history filmmaking warned of the fast declining population and habitat of chimpanzees in West Africa, and stressed the importance of stories like Oscar’s in increasing awareness.
Sir David Attenborough: “The need for their protection is greater than it’s ever been, in the last twenty years 90% have gone, and you can show absolutely that the reason that 90% have gone is that they have not been protected. If we can get more guards, we know that we can save the chimpanzees of the Tai Forest.”
Sir David Attenborough, life-long advocate of conservation efforts, lends his support to The Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), which has researched and observed Oscar’s family in the Tai Forest in West Africa’s Ivory Coast for over 30 years. The Chimpanzee population of the Ivory Coast has declined 90% since Sir David’s first trip there over 20 years ago, and it is hoped that the work of the WCF and the attention brought about by Chimpanzee will help save the remaining animals from extinction. Sir David Attenborough and Alastair Fothergill visited the Tai National Forest in 1989, which later became the setting for the Disneynature movie Chimpanzee.
Alastair Fothergill: “If you don’t know about something you can’t care about something. Every generation needs to know about the natural world. The human population is becoming increasingly urbanised, most people will never see a chimpanzee, will never go to the rainforest – and we feel passionately that there is still a real need to make beautiful wildlife films.”
Acclaimed natural history directors Alastair Fothergill (Earth, African Cats, Planet Earth) and Mark Linfield (Earth, Frozen Planet) have spent three years capturing the miraculous story of Oscar, an orphaned chimpanzee who is adopted by the alpha-male of his group. Oscar’s playful curiosity and zest for discovery showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Working together, Oscar’s chimpanzee family—including his mum, Isha, and the group’s savvy leader, Freddy — navigates the complex territory of the forest. The world is a playground for little Oscar and his fellow young chimpanzees, who’d rather make mayhem than join their parents for an afternoon nap. But when Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimpanzees, he is left to fend for himself until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever.
Mark Linfield: “You just can’t help but see personalities within these chimpanzees because they are there.”
Mark Linfield: “When Jane (Goodall) started working with chimpanzees she was told it wasn’t right to give them names, they had to be given numbers and you had to be ultra objective, now we see very much that these chimpanzees have personalities, they have characters like us, they feel many of the same things that we feel.”
“Chimpanzee” swings into theatres on May 3rd 2013