Do chimpanzees have emotions? According to Sheri Speede, the author of KINDRED BEINGS: What Seventy- Three Chimpanzees Taught Me About Life, Love, and Connection, chimpanzees experience the same range of emotions that humans do: happiness, sadness, love, hate, grief.
"Chimpanzees are closer to people than they are to gorillas, and chimpanzees and humans are closer to each other than either of us are to any other species," says Speede, who has spent fourteen years observing and interacting with the chimpanzees she rescued from captivity and is no longer surprised "over the capacity of chimpanzees to love and grieve." When Dorothy, a beloved chimpanzee, died, a photograph of her funeral which showed the chimpanzees mournfully viewing her body went viral after being published in National Geographic.
In KINDRED BEINGS, Speede describes how she overcame tremendous challenges to establish a sanctuary for chimpanzees who had been orphaned and taken captive by poachers supplying the illegal African Bush meat trade. Some of the chimpanzees had been held captive in chains as hotel tourist attractions for more than 20 years. Speede's sense of the injustice done to them propelled her to overcome daunting obstacles to build a sanctuary for these chimpanzees.
Sheri has a talk and book signing at 7:30 tonight at Powell's located at 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland.