Who's Jane Goodall?

Who was Jane Goodall? Read this article for more information about her life and her accomplishments.

Jane Goodall - Chimpanzee Advocate

"Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference." Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall has been interested in animals all of her life. She was born in London in 1934. According to her web site, in an unwitting foreshadowing of her future life, one of the earliest gifts she ever received was a stuffed chimpanzee from her father. She still has it! Her parents were both very supportive of her fascination with animals.

Were it not for fate, Goodall may have ended up being a secretary instead of the champion of animals she now is. She attended secretarial school and worked for a film making company until by chance a friend invited her to travel to Kenya. She saved her money by working as a waitress until she could afford to travel by boat to Kenya.

When she got there she managed to meet and be hired by the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey and his wife, Mary. After a period of working with the Leakeys in the Uvalde Gorge, Leakey recognized in Goodall the right qualities to do an in depth study of chimpanzees in the Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

The work required enormous patience and it was some time before she garnered the sufficient trust from the chimps to get close enough to them to observe their behavior.

Grueling climbs through forests, being scratched and bruised along the way, and excruciatingly long waits were par for the course. Eventually the chimps learned that she was not a threat, and some of them would approach her, or allow their infants to play near her- even touch her.

Within her first year there she discovered that chimpanzees make and use tools. She would later observe many practices scientists did not expect from chimpanzees- war, eating meat as well as vegetation, jealousy and tenderness are all part of the animal's make up. They are remarkably like humans.

These chimpanzee studies are the longest field studies ever accomplished of any animal in its own environment, but when they started they were only expected to last just a few months. The Tanzanian government is very supportive of the project, and so work continues.

Today much of Goodall's time is spent speaking and traveling promoting work with chimpanzees and speaking out eloquently against the mistreatment of chimpanzees. Sadly, mistreatment remains common as these intelligent animals are used for research, are poached for souvenirs, pets and other enterprises, and abused through intent or neglect in other enterprises.

In addition she operates the Jane Goodall Institute in Washington DC. The Institute promotes the well-being of chimpanzees and other animals by lobbying for non-invasive research study procedures, working to increase chimp habitats and protect their environments, and generally increase awareness of animal rights, welfare, and the inter-relatedness of all species of animals, humans included.

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