Friday April 21, 2017

Jane Goodall's shift from research to activism

Jane Goodall was 26 when she embarked on her long-term chimpanzee study in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. Goodall later turned her efforts to conservation of chimpanzees and their habitats across Africa.

Jane Goodall was 26 when she embarked on her long-term chimpanzee study in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. Goodall later turned her efforts to conservation of chimpanzees and their habitats across Africa. (JGI U.S./National Geographic)

Listen 15:18

Almost sixty years ago, Dr. Jane Goodall ventured into the forests of what is now Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, and revolutionized our understanding of chimpanzee behaviour. Her patient observation of the chimps she named David Greybeard, Flint and Fifi made us rethink what it means to be human.

Since the 1980s, Dr. Goodall's attention focused on the wider world. While the decision to step into the public eye and become an activist wasn't an easy one, Goodall says she does not doubt her choice. When she left research behind, she was able to broaden support for chimpanzee research by establishing organizations that promote conservation and environmental education. 

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British primatologist Jane Goodall holds a baby Cariblanco monkey (cebus capucinus) during a visit to a primate rescue and rehabilitation centre in Penaflor, near Santiago, Chile, on November 23, 2013. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

She started the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977 which focuses on programs for youth that centre on conservation. Local campaigns such as Cycle My Cell are a testament to her ability to motivate people to action. The particular campaign collects old cell phones to reduce mining of precious metals in great ape habitats.

Listen to two students from a Toronto high school talk about why they got involved in the campaign and the inspiration that Goodall provides:   

Jane Goodall's work revolutionized our understanding of chimpanzee behaviour1:00

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