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Published on Sep 12, 2007
March 1996 Debby Cox has a dream. She wants to free a group of prisoners. Incarcerated at Entebbe Zoo, Uganda, there is a colony of orphan chimps. They charge around their wire-mesh cage, desperate for affection. Their big hairy arms will embrace just about anything, including the camera! Six hours drive away, an island sanctuary in Queen Elizabeth National Park allows captive chimps to lead a semi-wild existence. An experiment to introduce a 3 month year old orphan into the group proves successful. Debby and her Zoo Director hope to establish a similar sanctuary at Entebbe. In the Kigali reserve, Harvard University Professor, Richard Wrangham has spent twelve years crouching in the undergrowth, watching wild chimps in their natural environment. We hide in a clearing as two young males eat cautiously in front of the camera. But the chimp population is under threat from in-breeding. Debby wants to solve the problem by gradually introducing her orphan chimps into the gene pool. Significantly, 98% of those chimp genes are exactly the same as our own. If it is a crime to imprison innocent humans, surely the same applies to Debby's 'chimp people'.
Produced by ABC Australia Distributed by Journeyman Pictures