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A Life Devoted to Chimpanzees

Dr. Géza Teleki (1943–2014) was a devoted guardians of untouched nature. In 1968 he was one of the first people to join Jane Goodall in Gombe, to assist and shape the research carried out there. He spent his entire life serving the chimpanzees’ cause, defying illness, lobbyists’ pressure, a shortage of time and money. He always considered the interests of the entire species paramount, and was advocating it at universities, at his lectures, in his books. He was convinced that in order to save animals and plants, one has to mobilize people’s emotions. He considered himself a nature conservationist rather than a scholar.His greatest achievement was the foundation of the first national park in Sierra Leone, Outamba-Kilimi National Park, which is still open to visitors. He devoted five years to this endeavor (1979– 1984); along with his health.

In fighting against animal experiments, he remained, to the end of his life, an ally to Jane Goodall. And he played a significant role in focusing international attention on the endangered status of chimpanzees, using every means he had to fight for their protection.

He is a member of the historical Teleki family from Szék, the grandson of Pál Teleki. He was born in Kolozsvár [the city of Cluj in today’s Romania], grew up in the United States, but the most important years of his life were connected to Africa. He moved back to his homeland, to Hungary after 63 years.