Sheila Siddle, whose fateful decision to save a badly injured chimpanzee in 1983 led to the creation of the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia, will conduct a brief speaking tour in the United States in May.
Siddle, 78, will appear at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago on May 15, then make subsequent appearances at the Cincinnati Zoo (May 18), Louisville Zoo (May 19) and the Toledo Zoo (May 22).
Siddle will also be in the U.S. to take part in the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA 2009 Management Workshop, which will be held May 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio.
The visit will be Siddle’s first to the U.S. since she toured in 2001 to follow the release of her highly acclaimed autobiography, In My Family Tree: A Life with Chimpanzees (Grove). That book has since been translated into German, Dutch and French, and primate expert Dr. Richard Leakey called it “emotional, but certainly a ‘must-be-read’ book.”
Siddle will discuss many of the special chimpanzees – and the inherent challenges – that led to one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world.
Chimfunshi was one of the first rescue and rehabilitation centers for orphaned chimpanzees in Africa, and currently cares for 126 at its facility in central Zambia. Siddle, who co-founded Chimfunshi on a dairy farm along with her late husband, David, helped pioneer many of the protocols and policies that are standard in sanctuaries today.