Six people with little in common except influencing how humans see animals
Hilda Tresz, Freddy Mahamba Muliro, and Joel Celestine Mambou Ndou, none of them ever famous, in various ways devoted their lives to great apes.
Wade Hanson spent the last 24 years of his life as a humane officer.
Wallace Broecker for more than 50 years advanced scientific understanding of global warming, including in how it affects animals, especially sea life.
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld by his own admission never cared much about animals until very late in life, yet reportedly left $195 million to his cat.
Each contributed to recognition of human ethical obligations toward animals––in Lagerfeld’s case not always intentionally.
Behavioral enrichment specialist
Hilda Tresz, 56, a Jane Goodall Institute Global volunteer and representative since 2007, died in Nepal while on assignment for the Goodall Institute program ChimpanZoo, Goodall Institute community engagement specialist Ashley Sullivan announced on April 27, 2019.
ChimpanZoo, explained Sullivan, “is dedicated to improving the welfare of captive chimpanzees through observational research, behavioral enrichment, and environmental education.”
Born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, Tresz badgered the director of the Budapest Zoo to give her a job for a year before he finally hired her, at age 18, soon after she graduated from high school.
Eight years later, in 1989, “At 26, Tresz and her husband packed two suitcases, one filled entirely with books, left Hungary and came to the U.S.,” recalled Public Radio International reporter Naomi Gingold in a December 2016 profile.
“She ended up at the Primate Foundation of Arizona, taking care of 85 chimpanzees,” Gingold continued. “And she says the experience changed her life, from scheming to throwing their poop at her, to even grooming her when they decided they liked her. It required an entirely new level of problem solving and patience. And in the process, Tresz became a chimp expert.
“Not long after, she moved to the nearby Phoenix Zoo,” where Tresz eventually developed a worldwide reputation for devising effective methods of behavioral enrichment for chimps.
Virunga National Park ranger
Posting to social media from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park director Emmanuel de Merode on March 7, 2019 confirmed the death of ranger Freddy Mahamba Muliro during a militia attack on a ranger position in the park’s troubled central sector.
Muliro was the 176th ranger to be killed in the line of duty at Virunga National Park since 2000. The park, with a ranger corps of 600, is home to more than 700 bird species, both forest and savannah elephants, hippos, okapis, lions, and most famously, mountain gorillas.
Gabon wildlife educator
Joel Celestine Mambou Ndou, of the Central Africa National Resources Observatory in Gabon, died in a traffic accident on December 21, 2018.
“The animal welfare fraternity has lost a partner, a passionate conservationist, a friend and a brother. His fun nature and humorous retorts had friends belly-up with laughter,” memorialized the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
Recalled Africa Network for Animal Welfare founder and executive director Josphat Ngonyo, “I have known Joel, as a most passionate, jovial and an unmatched champion in animal welfare and conservation.”
Ndou participated in the 2017 and 2018 Africa Animal Welfare Conferences, hosted by ANAW in Nairobi.
Wade Hanson, 63, died on December 23, 2018 at his home in Pine City, Minnesota.
A U.S. Army veteran, “Hanson joined the Humane Society of Ramsey County as a humane agent in 1995,” the Animal Humane Society of Minnesota announced, “and continued in that role when the organization merged with others to form Animal Humane Society in 2007. For the last decade, he focused on combating animal abuse and neglect in the northern half of Minnesota. Hanson until 2018 was one of only two full-time humane agents in the state of Minnesota.”
The ANIMALS 24-7 files document Hanson’s work on a range of sensitive issues, including alleged puppy mills, “rescue hoarders,” and neglect of pets by homeless people.
“Wade daily committed himself — seven days a week, 365 days a year — for 24 years to his job of being a humane agent. That’s who he was,” recalled Animal Humane Society president and CEO Janelle Dixon. “He never lost sight of the ‘humane’ part of the work and the humanity toward animals,” Dixon said.
Former creationist established science of global warming
Wallace Broecker, 87, died on February 18, 2019 in New York City from congestive heart failure.
Broecker, a geochemist, was for nearly 67 years a faculty member at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a project of Columbia University.
Broecker was often credited with coining the phrase “global warming” in an August 1975 paper published by Science magazine, entitled “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?”
Broecker himself, however, often pointed out that he built on the work of others.
First use of the term “global warming”
The earliest use of “global warming” documented by NewspaperArchive was by Frank Romaine of the Register & Tribune Syndicate, based in Des Moines, Iowa, in “Fewer Icebergs,” a short news item distributed on April 28, 1952.
Wrote Romaine, “Scientists who are studying global warming trends point out that not a single iceberg was sighted last year (1951) south of Parallel 46.”
Circumstantial evidence, however, suggests that Broecker may have been among the scientists whom Romaine referenced––albeit as a then newly arrived intern at what was then the Lamont Geological Observatory, in Palisades, New York.
Broecker “grew up in Oak Park, Illinois,” according to Columbia University Earth Institute senior science writer Kevin Krajick “His father, also named Wallace, ran a gas station. His mother was the former Edith Smith,” Krajick wrote.
“Both parents were evangelical Christians who rejected modern geologic theory for the literal Biblical interpretation that the earth is just a few thousand years old. They also forbade drinking, dancing and movies,” Krajick recalled. “Broecker attended Illinois’ fundamentalist Christian Wheaton College, then the recent alma mater of preacher Billy Graham. While still a student, Broecker married the former Grace Carder,” a marriage lasting until her death in 2007, “and spoke of becoming an insurance actuary.”
A fellow student at Wheaton, however, Paul Gast, who later headed the NASA moon rock research program, encouraged Broecker to accept the internship at Lamont, under geochemist J. Laurence Kulp, one of the developers of radiocarbon dating of biological materials.
Many Biblical literalists at the time welcomed radiocarbon dating, in the belief that it would help to establish the authenticity of relics and refute evolution.
Broecker, initially ridiculed by fellow students as a “theo-chemist,” earned a PhD. in geology from Lamont in 1958, while developing data showing that water from shallow and deep parts of the ocean circulates far more rapidly than was previously believed.
“This in turn implied that the oceans could potentially affect the composition of the atmosphere, or vice-versa,” wrote Krajick.
Going on to investigate how the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the air, Broecker in his 1975 Science paper argued human activities that release carbon dioxide were already inducing climate change, masked by the effects of a soon-to-end 40-year global cooling cycle.
Predicted global warming as we now see it
Broecker “predicted that the cycle would soon reverse, and then the manmade warming on top of that would become dramatically visible,” continued Krajiock. “Right on cue in 1976, temperatures started ascending along the trajectory Broecker laid out.”
Broecker went on to develop what Krajick called “a grand picture of world ocean circulation,” which normally helps to stabilize global climate. Disruptions to the flow, however, such as those caused by global warming, can bring on abrupt climate shifts.
Broecker continued to research global warming and ways to respond to it for the rest of his life. He remarried in 2009 to longtime laboratory colleague Elizabeth Clark, who survives him.
Foil for anti-fur protest left fortune to cat
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, 85, creative director for the globally distributed Chanel brand for more than 30 years, died in Paris on February 19, 2019, reportedly leaving most of his $195 million estate to his cat Choupette, star of an Instagram account and blog posted by digital marketing guru Ashley Tschudin.
Born on August 15 2011, Choupette was made a Christmas present to Lagerfeld from model Baptiste Giabiconi, after Lagerfeld looked after the kitten for a time while Giabiconi was traveling.
Lagerfeld for years before acquiring Choupette was a frequent foil for protest over the use of animal parts in fashion.
Lagerfeld was present in March 2005 when a protester hit Vogue editor Anna Wintour in the face with a pie as she arrived for the Chanel autumn/winter fashion show at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, wearing a jacket of pink-dyed Persian lamb, trimmed with chinchilla.
“I can hardly eat meat”
Ignoring that both Persian lamb and chinchilla come from ranched vegetarian animals, native to Central Asia and South America, Lagerfeld fumed to media that fur comes from hunters in the far north who “make a living having learnt nothing else than hunting, killing those beasts who would kill us if they could.”
“In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish,” Lagerfeld went on, adding that animals should be killed “nicely” if possible.
“I can hardly eat meat,” Lagerfeld then admitted, “because it has to look like something that it was not when it was alive.”
In December 2018, two months before Lagerfeld died, he and Chanel head of fashion Bruno Pavlovksy told Women’s Wear Daily that the company would no longer use furs or exotic animal skins, such as python, crocodile, lizard and stingray, because of the difficulty of sourcing such pelts ethically. Chanel is still using leather from animals killed for the meat industry.
The decision was made “because it’s in the air, but it’s not an air people imposed to us,” Lagerfeld said, adding “there was not much fur” in the Chanel product line anyhow.