- Townsend VisionCEO
Stop Bonobo Kanzi and Family from Losing their Home
Kanzi and family are helping to dissolve the communication barriers between human beings and other species and they deserve a home in which they are treated with respect for their ability to understand language.
Kanzi and Family - Need a Respectful Home
Please help Kanzi -- the first nonhuman (Kanzi is a bonobo) to completely comprehend our language. Kanzi has steadily changed humanity's view of ape consciousness and linguistic capacity since he began using symbols in 1982 (See IowaPrimateLearning.org, artforbonobohope.org, panbanisha.org, Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary Facebook). Kanzi is the most filmed ape in history. Please support his right to live a life of dignity and respect with his beloved bonobo family. They are themselves learning to comprehend English and they daily employ a form of vocal language between themselves. Please also support the efforts of IPLS to become a Federal Sanctuary for chimpanzees who have served as subjects in biomedical research. Our goal is to give them an environment that enables travel, communication and the expression of free-will through symbolic communication.
As children, we each grow up thinking that animals talk. As adults we learn that this is not really so; it is only fantasy in children's books. We are told that animals do not have a "real language" - that is, one that allows them to think.
Kanzi is, with awareness, trying to help humanity to understand that he does, in fact, have real language and theta he is able to learn ours. Kanzi cannot speak as we do, because his larynx and throat are constructed for very very high sounds, but he can speak. When he desires to communicate, he uses symbols, bonobo sounds and gestures to express thoughts and desires. His speech is difficult to understand, but scientists from Carnegie Melon are beginning to do so.
Kanzi knows that he has a past. He can remember it and sometimes speaks about it. He can answer questions about it. He knows that he has a future and that it is uncertain at this moment. He works, in his own way, with every visitor to IPLS to break down the communication boundary between his species and ourselves. Kanzi not only knows who he is, he knows "that" he is. He is partially aware of what people think about him because people express their opinions constantly in front of him. He knows that he has been filmed and he watches himself on TV - and tries to improve how he appears. Having heard visitors and press constantly comment about his abilities has caused Kanzi to try to understand his place in the world, and to cooperate with people in unexpected and amazing ways.
Kanzi and family came to Iowa, because of a promise that they would have a wonderful place to live for life, and that their human family would always be with them. The promise went begging and for a time, language use, travel and sentience were strongly discouraged. Now they are learning to make friends with visitors in ways unique to each one. They are the first nonhuman family who has actually found a way to understand much of human language and who think, reason and feel almost we do. They have crossed the species boundary and learned our language. We human beings, thus far, have failed to do the same, even in a small way. Therefore, they are the more intelligent species. Yes,much scientific evidence is needed to prove the capacities that Kanzi displays everyday. But before this can be obtained, Kanzi's life and future must be secure, peaceful, predictable and calm.
Their home is paid for. Their food is graciously provided by Hy Vee. Many people volunteer their time to help care for these bonobos. It costs very little for them to live and humanity has much to learn from them. We offer this petition in collaboration with Peter Gabriel -- in memory of Panbanisha, the first nonhuman being to co-compose musical pieces with Peter. We ask the foundations, corporations, universities, and federal agencies from whom we seek help - to look kindly upon our applications and allow these bonobos to remain in their home, to enable IPLS to become a federal sanctuary for chimpanzees, and to make possible the construction of a world for humans, bonobos and chimpanzees that fosters inter-species communication, travel, scientific study, and within reason, the expression of free-will by these sentient beings.
Humans, chimpanzees and bonobos will each benefit through the increased tolerance, understanding and respect that interspecies communication brings. As human beings recognize the sentience of bonobos and chimpanzees, we begin to take the first step toward transcending the ego-based concept of self.
Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary started this petition with a single signature, and now has 370 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.