Shirley McGreal, Champion of Primates Under Threat, dies aged 87
Shirley, who had a twin sister, Jean, earned a bachelor’s degree from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she studied Latin and French, and a master’s degree in teaching at the school.
She began her career primarily as a language teacher in schools and colleges in the United States, France and Australia, and later received a second Masters in French Literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 1971 she received her PhD in Education from the University of Cincinnati.
She accompanied her husband, an engineer, to New Delhi, where he was working on a National Science Foundation project, and then to Thailand, where he was employed by the United Nations. It was there that Ms. McGreal met the young macaques at the airport.
“She was very concerned about their welfare and researching who does what with whom in the pet trade,” said McGreal in a telephone interview. “Your interest in them was instantly aroused.”
After starting the International Primate Protection League with Ardith Eudey, a primatologist (who remained a consultant until her death in 2015) in 1973, Ms. McGreal became known for her willingness to help other conservation groups financially and for her worldwide network of People who warn them of primates in life-threatening situations and identify smugglers.
“We were amazed that she didn’t kill anyone,” said Lois K. Lippold, a primatologist who runs a foundation for the protection of the langur monkey and sits on the board of the league. “She got death threats and they just stole her more. It takes a certain kind of person to do what they do because the picture for primates is so bleak everywhere. “
Dr. Lippold said Ms. McGreal gathered many others in the primate conservation world to write to the Prime Minister of Vietnam five years ago to persuade him not to commercialize any part of a forest in Da Nang where doucs feed.