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French primatologist Sabrina Krief has fought for more than twenty years to preserve a community of chimpanzees in the rainforest in Uganda. That day, accompanied by an endocrine disruptor specialist, she has air sensors along the new road that crosses the nature reserve. The veterinarian by training wants to collect the pollutants from the exhaust gases suspected in the malformations of primates.
The guards recruited for this mission will watch over these precious samples day and night. And several months after the installation of the device, the sensors spoke: the road pollution is too low to be responsible for the malformations… but the road would be at the origin of another more unexpected pollution. And it is by collecting sixty-ten hairs in chimpanzee nests that the scientist, professor at National Museum of Natural History, made a disturbing discovery …
“In these hairs, we find bisphenol A and bisphenol S”
Analysis of the samples revealed plastic pollution. In question, the bottles littering the edge of the road. The team of this PhD in ecology and chemistry of natural substances picked up 5,000 over five kilometers! “In these hairs, we find bisphenol A and bisphenol S, one of the traces of plastic pollutants”, explains to the magazine ‘1:15 p.m. on Sunday’ (replay) the one who launched, with her husband the photographer Jean-Michel Krief, the Great Apes Conservation Project (PCGS).
“It’s still pretty mysterious for us… she notes. Chimpanzees often eat along the road, as they are drawn to these grassy areas. And although they mostly like fruit, they also eat this grass on the ground, which may be contaminated by plastic bottles. It’s pretty incredible to think that chimpanzees are exposed in the heart of the rainforest, not only to pesticides but also to plastic pollution that one would never think of reaching into the heart of this forest. “