In the Steps of Chimpanzees, Toward New Solutions in Human Health – a lecture in French
(Wednesday, September 12, 2012) Sabrina Krief is a veterinarian and an Associate Professor at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, in France. She is an actively engaged scientist and is very concerned about poaching, habitat destruction and all the other risks facing her primate study subjects. With her husband, Jean-Michel Krief, she created an association to increase awareness among local people and the international community of the serious risks threatening the survival of the great apes of Africa.
For over 15 years now, Sabrina Krief has been fascinated by chimpanzees. In the field, in Uganda’s Kibale National Park, she has been observing their behaviour and habits and taking notes on their health.
She made a surprising discovery: wild chimpanzees regularly consume parts of plants with some surprising pharmacological properties, as part of their diet. These plants may protect the chimpanzees against intestinal parasites or those responsible for malaria, and even against cancer cells. She found that the Kibale chimpanzees that carried malaria-bearing parasites exhibited almost none of the symptoms associated with the disease. When one thinks that over 216 million human beings suffered from malaria in 2010 (according to the World Health Organization), it is easy to see the potential impact of this kind of discovery on human health.
Ms. Krief’s lecture is being supported by the Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle of the Consulate General of France in Quebec City and the Association des communicateurs scientifiques (ACS).