Jane Goodall continues to pursue her commitment of providing education to the younger generations, as well as the preservation of the environment. At 88, she continues to tell her incredible story. From her home in the south of England or during her numerous trips around the world, she tells how as 26 years old English woman, would begin hours and hours in the company of chimpanzees in Africa. She would come revolutionize our understanding of the great apes, of the human species.
In 1960, the British anthropologist Louis Leakey sent Goodall to study the behavior of chimpanzees in their natural environment, in the Gombe National Park, near Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. She was self-taught, and had no academic training but she loved animals more than anything else. Leakey believed in her. The chimpanzees gradually got used to her presence and let her approach them. She recorded their every move, and gradually, the discoveries multiplied.
My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with natureJane Goodall
Before Goodall, nobody knew that a chimpanzee was capable of making and using a tool, an ability that was previously considered unique to humans. Thanks to her, it is now known that the great apes have rituals. They create bonds by delousing each other, but can also be aggressive and wage war. Her discoveries on the intelligence of chimpanzees call into question the very definition of human, the a “sapiens” individual among all living species.
She founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, an institution devoted to help understand not only chimpanzees but nature in general. She then became committed to a more global struggle: improving the living conditions of local populations sharing the same land as endangered wildlife. The Institute’s actions are part of an approach to protect biodiversity and educate the youngest with the objective of cultivating harmony between man and nature. Never protect one to the detriment of the other.
The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselvesJane Goodall
In her latest book “The Book of Hope“, published last October, she pleads for a optimism and reminds us of the indispensable alliance between humans and nature. When faced with the feeling of powerlessness in the face of biodiversity loss and climate change, the best way to act is to find a local cause that we are passionate about. She reminds us that all over the world, young people are taking action. That we must not succumb to “ecological mourning”, and rediscover our capacity to marvel at the beauty of the world.
The Gombe National Park in Tanzania is where Jane Goodall initiated her research program in the 1960s. During a hike, one has a good chance to approach the chimpanzees in their natural environment.
Travelers can visit to one of the Jane Goodall Institute’s centers, such as Chimp Eden in South Africa. This refuge takes in chimpanzees rescued from difficult situations and raises awareness of their plight through education and ecotourism.