“50 / 50” DOCUMENTARIES CAPTURE CHIMFUNSHI PAL AWARD

The South African wildlife TV newsmagazine “50/50,” which has consistently shaped public awareness of chimpanzees through documentaries detailing primate intelligence, conservation efforts, and the horrors of the bushmeat trade, is the winner of the 2001 Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Pal Award.

“50/50,” which is aired on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s Channel 2, will be honored at the annual Chimposium 2001 fund-raiser, to be held Saturday, November 3, at noon at the Dimension Data Oval in Bryanston, South Africa.

“50/50” is defined as the balance between nature and humankind, and has broadcast cutting-edge programs for almost two decades that have influenced environmental policy, spurred conservation, and uncovered political waste. Created in 1983, “50/50, ” which is headed up by executive producer Danie van der Walt, is one of the most popular shows on South African television, and beams its reports to networks all around the world.

The Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage has been the subject of several “50/50” reports, including the relocation of two orphaned chimps, Zsabu and Violet, in 1992, and the opening of two 500-acre enclosures at the sanctuary in 2000. Chimfunshi was also featured in the documentary film “Africa’s New Refugees,” which delved into the illegal hunting, transport and sale of wild chimpanzees.

“50/50” has also covered Jane Goodall’s research with wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, and tracked the black-market trade of chimps in Angola.

“’50/50′ has been a good friend not just to Chimfunshi, but to chimpanzees everywhere,” said Chimfunshi co-founder Sheila Siddle. “Their stories have done so much to alert people to the real threats facing chimps, and to the fact that they could soon be extinct. By showing viewers how much we humans have in common with chimps, ’50/50′ has played an invaluable role in the fight to save our closest relative.”

Ironically, “50/50” and Siddle are both finalists for the Audi Terra Nova Award, which will be given in honor of environmental efforts at a gala in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in November.

The Pal Award is named for the very first chimp to arrive at Chimfunshi, “Pal,” and is given annually to those who endeavor to create closer bonds of understanding, knowledge and support between man and chimpanzees. Previous winners include chimpanzee researchers Roger and Deborah Fouts (2000), and bushmeat activist Karl Ammann (1999).

Brenda Santon, Friends of Chimfunshi (South Africa), 27-136-909-368 adoption@mweb.co.za

Doug Cress, Chimfunshi-USA, 1-503-238-8077 SBCress@aol.com

Debbie Rogers “50/50”, 27-11-714-6621 5050@sabc.co.za

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