This is Cornelius, the plush chimp toy that sits on my desk at work. I got him a few years ago through the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada (JGI Canada), and he has joined me at my day job ever since.
Sometimes people ask me about him (in fairness, however, most of my old team members at work have funky things in their offices, so a plush chimp doesn’t necessarily stand out!), but I usually just provide a short and sweet explanation about how he is a symbolically adopted chimp through JGI Canada. If people want more information, then I direct them to the JGI Canada website, but most people just say “Oh, what a nice idea!” or something to that effect and move on to laugh at whatever crazy decorations my old team members have added to my cubicle. (I was just moved to a new team, but my old team members still decorate my office and play pranks on me. It’s pretty awesome. I currently have a fake palm tree full of calculators in my office—don’t ask!—but I actually expect that they’ll incorporate Cornelius into a new decorative motif after reading this post…)
Now that I think about it, no one has actually asked me what I mean when I say that Cornelius is a symbolically adopted chimp. There are a lot of great symbolic adoption programs out there, so it’s easy to assume that Cornelius is part of general fundraising, but he actually represents my support of the injured and orphaned chimpanzees living at the JGI-supported Tchimpounga Sanctuary in Republic of Congo. This sanctuary is a safe haven for chimps that have been affected by habitat loss and the bushmeat trade, and JGI is currently working to expand the facilities because it is already housing over three times the number of chimps that it was intended to help. In fact, in particularly exciting news, six female chimps were recently moved from the Tchimpounga Sanctuary to the Tchindzoulou Islands site, where they’ll be able to enjoy hundreds of hectares of secluded forest—and just be chimps! JGI is aiming to move 100 chimps to the Tchindzoulou Islands site by December 2013, and becoming a Chimp Guardian is a quick and easy way to help support that goal.
And, of course, the holidays are coming up. If you have a Jane Goodall enthusiast or an animal lover on your list (or if you want to team up with some co-workers to get your own plush chimp for the office), then a little guy like Cornelius really does make a great gift. I received him as a gift, and (like everyone says) it is such a nice idea—and in this case, it really does go a long way.