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Fundraiser helps orphaned chimps in Cameroon.

Byline: Randi Bjornstad The Register-Guard

As if the stories about human suffering in Africa weren't overwhelming enough, along comes one about the plight of many of our primate cousins - young chimpanzees that have been orphaned as a result of the illegal "bushmeat" trade in places such as Cameroon.

In the case of the chimps, though, there's something that people right here can do to help, and a couple of local businesses are teaming up on Friday to further the cause, putting on a fundraiser to support In Defense of Animals-Africa, which runs the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, a sanctuary in Cameroon founded by Beaverton resident Sheri Speede.

A century ago, chimpanzees numbered 2 million in Africa, but illegal hunting and destruction of wild forest habitat have reduced the population to 150,000. Many of the orphaned chimps are left to die when their mothers are killed by poachers who sell the carcasses on the illegal bushmeat market. Others are taken into captivity and displayed as curiosities.

Speede, a veterinarian, will talk about the endangerment of chimpanzees and the operations of her 10-year-old sanctuary at Friday's gathering, which will take place at Cozmic Pizza. Dubbed "Chocolate for Chimps," the event will feature Euphoria chocolates and live music by the TouchyFeeliacs.

The nonprofit IDA-Africa cares for 64 orphaned chimps as well as others rescued from inhumane situations such as being tethered for years - in some cases decades - on short chains as "pets" or caged in small enclosures without proper diet or exercise.

Speede and her Sanaga-Yong sanctuary, where chimpanzees live in family groups in the forest, were featured in the online National Geographic News on Dec. 18, 2006.

"Chocolate for Chimps" fundraiser

What: A benefit for In Defense of Animals-Africa, which runs a sanctuary in Cameroon for orphaned and mistreated chimpanzees

When: Friday at 8 p.m.

Where: Cozmic Pizza, 199 W. Eighth Ave. in downtown Eugene

Cost: $20 (tax-deductible)

Information: 337-0200 or
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Title Annotation:Oregon Life
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 20, 2008
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