Member of IPPL advisory board since 1978
Geza P. Teleki, 77, died on January 6, 2014 at his home in Budapest, Hungary, “with his beloved wife Heather McGiffin and son Aidan with him,” International Primate Protection League founder Shirley McGreal e-mailed to ANIMALS 24-7.
“Geza was a member of the IPPL advisory board since 1978,” McGreal recalled. “He had studied the chimpanzees at Gombe Stream, Tanzania, in the early days,” with Jane Goodall. “It is less well known,” McGreal continued, “that in his early career Geza studied a colony of gibbons who were maintained on Hall Island off Bermuda. He blew the whistle on the abusive treatment inflicted on them by cruel experimenters.” IPPL exposed the situation in March 1976.
1st national park in Sierra Leone
“Later he went to Sierra Leone,” McGreal said, “where he established the first national park, Outamba-Kilimi. He uncovered the Immuno A.G. scheme to set up a chimp lab in Sierra Leone and sent us the incriminating documents which led Immuno to sue me, Dr. Jan Moor-Jankowski, and others for millions,” in a case that led to landmark victories for press freedom in the U.S. Supreme Court and New York Court of Appeals. The proposed lab was never built.
“Geza also helped end the career of the infamous chimp exporter Franz Sitter,” McGreal added, “who had settled in Sierra Leone. Geza was a prolific writer and worked with Goodall and others to add chimpanzees to the U.S. Endangered Species List.”
Edward Taub case
In 1981, McGreal remembered, “PETA needed affidavits about the conditions at researcher Edward Taub’s lab,” in Silver Spring, Maryland. “They asked us for credible contacts and Geza was among those taken into the lab at night,” leading to the first convictions of a biomedical researcher for cruelty since 1927. Taub won reversal of the convictions, however, on jurisdictional grounds.
Books by Teleki included The Predatory Behavior of Wild Chimpanzees (1973), Goblin: A Wild Chimpanzee (1977), Aerial Apes: Gibbons of Asia (1979), and Leakey the Elder (1980). Teleki was also author of numerous scientific papers.