Celebrating Gombe 60: Discovery, Innovation and Hope

Celebrating Gombe 60: Discovery, Innovation and Hope
13/09/2020 Webmaster

Chimpanzee Glamour in Gombe National ParkIn 1960, a young British woman arrived on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania for the first time. Without realising it, she would soon change the world forever. 26-year-old Jane Goodall was tasked with being the first to formally observe and better understand our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom: wild chimpanzees. Jane’s subsequent ground-breaking discoveries revealed remarkable truths about chimpanzee behaviour and humankind.

On 14th July 2020, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) will honour the 60th anniversary of the day that Dr Jane Goodall first arrived in Gombe, Tanzania, to begin her ground-breaking study of wild chimpanzees. Over the last six decades, Dr Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) have established and maintained what is now the longest running study of wild chimpanzees in the world.

Through critical work in Gombe, Dr Goodall and JGI have not only highlighted the urgent need to protect chimpanzees from extinction, they have also redefined “species conservation” to put people at the centre. JGI’s innovative science and trailblazing community-centred conservation approach in Gombe makes it one of the world’s most precious resources, which will continue to grow in remarkable ways for many years to come.

Today, Dr Goodall travels around the globe to spread hope and turn it into action to improve the well-being of people, other animals and the environment we share.

Jane: A Scientific Trailblazer

As a trailblazing researcher, Dr Jane Goodall’s discoveries in Gombe and worldwide influence inspired generations across fields, breaking barriers in science and beyond.

  • Dr Goodall’s example and story spurred a global movement, encouraging scientific expansion and an important increase in the number of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
  • Dr Goodall’s living legacy continues to influence many different fields of science for millions of individuals, institutions, organisations and beyond.
  • Through ground-breaking research in Gombe spanning 60 years, we have uncovered incredible insights, forever redefining our understanding of human origins and our relationship to the rest of the animal kingdom.
  • Jane Goodall’s recorded observation at age 26 that chimpanzees make and use tools is considered a one of the greatest contributions of the 20th century.
  • From Jane’s early discoveries observing chimpanzee communities in the 1960s to the current descendants, detailed observations of the G and F family lineages and other studies have wielded an incredible wealth of knowledge, including chimpanzee mother-infant bonds, ecology, culture, health, altruism, emotionality, and intelligence.
  • Today, the Jane Goodall Institute continues Jane’s research in what is now the longest running wild chimpanzee study in the world. These insights have not only shaped public understanding of our unique likeness to our closest living relatives, but also their innate value as sentient, complex beings and the need to protect them.
  • The impacts of this unique place of discovery span primate behaviour, evolution, health, and ecology with tremendous possibility for new and important findings
What Gombe Means to Conservation
  • Jane and JGI’s insights from Gombe have had a tremendous impact on current conservation knowledge (of both threats and solutions) and methodology.
  • JGI’s innovating efforts in science and community-centred conservation (Tacare) make Gombe one of the world’s most significant examples of collaboration with human communities for species conservation. Through this collaboration, protection of vital great ape habitats happens through local ownership of land-use planning, natural resource management and sustainable livelihoods, along with other sustainable development initiatives.
  • Tacare, a community-centred conservation approach honed by the Jane Goodall Institute in collaboration with communities around Gombe, now exists across the chimpanzee range in a growing number of countries and will continue to influence the conservation landscape in remarkable ways for many years to come.

If you want to know more about Gombe, the chimpanzees that live there and what it was like for Dr Jane as a young woman embarking on research in the wild and the beautiful jungle, discover her amazing story and the story of Gombe on our special story-map. This will take you through from the very start to the present day with stories, photographs, videos, facts and figures.
https://bit.ly/2ZVbydP (Created in partnership with Blue Raster and Esri)

You can also find out more by visiting the special Gombe 60 website at The Jane Goodall Institute: https://bit.ly/2HatmuM

How to draw a chimpanzee by JGI’s Fernando Turmo: https://bit.ly/2ZTNisj

Photo credits: Bill Wallauer/JGI US, Hugo Van Lawick/National Geographic Society,  William Wallauer/JGI US, Fernando Turmo/JGI Congo.

The Jane Goodall Institute does not endorse handling, interacting or close proximity to chimpanzees or other wildlife. The second image is a historical photograph that cannot be cut or shown outside the original context.