jane Dr. Jane Goodall

jane & freudIn July 1960 Jane Goodall began her landmark study of chimpanzees in what is now Tanzania under the mentorship of the famed anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey. Her work at Gombe Stream would become the foundation of future primatological research and redefine the relationship between humans and animals.

In 1977 Dr. Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), which continues the Gombe research and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats.

Today, the Institute is widely recognized for establishing innovative, community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and Jane Goodall’s Roots&Shoots, JGI’s global environmental and humanitarian youth network, which has groups in more than 120 countries.

Dr. Goodall travels an average 300 days per year, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees and other environmental crises. She shares her reasons for hope that humankind will solve the problems it has imposed on our planet. She continually urges her audiences to recognize their personal responsibility and ability to effect change. “Every individual counts,” she says. “Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”

Dr. Goodall’s scores of honors include the Medal of Tanzania, the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal, Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, and the Gandhi/King Award for Nonviolence. In April 2002, Secretary-General Kofi Annan named Dr. Goodall a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and she was reappointed in June 2007 by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In 2004, in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Dr. Goodall was invested as a Dame of the British Empire, the female equivalent of knighthood. In 2006, Dr. Goodall received the French Legion of Honor, presented by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, as well as the UNESCO Gold Medal Award.

Dr. Goodall’s list of publications includes “Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species are Being Rescued from the Brink”, two overviews of her work at Gombe — “In the Shadow of Man” and “Through a Window” — as well as two autobiographies in letters, the best-selling autobiography “Reason for Hope” and many children’s books. “The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior” is the definitive scientific work on chimpanzees and is the culmination of Dr. Goodall’s scientific career. She has been the subject of numerous television documentaries and is featured in the large-screen format film “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees” (2002). She also has been featured in five Animal Planet specials—”Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe”, “Jane Goodall’s State of the Great Ape”, “Jane Goodall’s Heroes”, “When Animals Talk” and most recently, “Almost Human”.

Take a tour with Dr. Jane Goodall

Q&A with Dr. Goodall

When were you happiest?

When I arrived at Gombe for the first time and when I had a baby.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing my mind.

What is your earliest memory?

When I was two, a dragonfly flew near me. A man knocked it to the ground and trod on it. I remember crying because I'd caused the dragonfly to be killed.

Which living person do you most admire and why?

Muhammad Yunus, who started the Grameen Bank.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Lack of respect.

Property aside, what's the most expensive thing you've bought?

My first trip by boat to Africa at 23.

What is your most treasured possession?

My mascot Mr H, a stuffed monkey that I have had for 19 years.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

That I am getting older.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

I played myself in Jane's Journey.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

A whisky every night.

What do you owe your parents?

I owe my mother everything because she supported my childhood dream.

What is the worst thing anyone's said to you?

In 1975, when my students were kidnapped by rebels, I was accused of hiding instead of trying to save them, and of not giving enough money for their ransom. I wasn't believed.

What does love feel like?

Like the whole world is different, all the ordinary things become magical.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?

The ape-like, human-like creature that is the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees.

Which living person do you most despise, and why?

The agricultural company Monsanto, because I know too much about GM organisms and crops.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Africa in the 17th century, when you could hardly see the water because of all the fish, there were millions of birds and the plains were covered with animals of all sorts.

What is the closest you've come to death?

Six years ago, at Gombe, I was climbing when a rock dislodged and came down on top of me. Together we rolled about three rolls down the slope and if I hadn't been thrown aside, I would have died.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

More time.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Writing In The Shadow Of Man, because people have said it changed the way they thought about animals.

What song would you like to be played at your funeral?

Beethoven's Ode To Joy.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who helped to change attitudes towards animals.