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Science
A LIFE WITH KANZI
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Monday 18th April 2005 21.00-21.30pm

Grant Sonnex discovers it's not just Dr. Dolittle who can talk to animals...

Sue Savage Rumbaugh and Kanzi
Sue Savage Rumbaugh and Kanzi the bonobo...
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A Life With Kanzi

Sue Savage Rumbaugh is internationally known for her life's work teaching bonobos - close relatives of chimps - to understand spoken English and communicate using special icon-based keyboards.

Sue has been working with one particular male, Kanzi, for more than 20 years and has an extraordinarily close relationship with him.

For Grant Sonnex, the encounter with an ape that could communicate with him was quite a shock..

 "... I was totally unprepared for the reality of meeting another species that could understand me, or for the way that Sue treats Kanzi and the other bonobos. We ended up being sent on a shopping trip to the local mall to buy slushy iced drinks for the bonobos and a basket ball for Kanzi. Sue videoed the trip to show them later. They love to watch these excursions on TV, but Kanzi's favourite video is of the film, Babe - the one with the talking pig!"

There is a serious side to this breaking down of species barriers. Sue is supplying them with many of the things that early humans had... rudimentary language, fire, etc.

Not only does Sue want to understand how we became human, but more importantly to be an intermediary between bonobos and the rest of us.

With the bonobos, she says, she finds a unity ... a lack of barriers that she does not find in human company.

Other programmes in the series...

A Life With Pink Pigeons
Monday 25th April 2005, 9pm-9.30pm
Grant meets a Welshman in Mauritius who is passionate about Pink Pigeons...
 
A Life With Wolves
Monday 2nd May 2005, 9pm-9.30pm
Grant meets Shaun Ellis - a man in Wolf's clothing who teaches wolf pups how to hunt...
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