Fifty-five years after Jane Goodall set off at the age of 26 to enter the world of the extremely shy chimpanzees of western Tanzania, her passion to protect endangered species remains undiminished. And despite the growing obstacles faced by much of Africa’s wildlife, the renowned primatologist believes there are reasons for hope.
Dr Goodall is scheduled to explain these reasons in a talk Tuesday at the Louis Leakey Auditorium of the Nairobi National Museum.
“What have we learned, what do we not yet know and why does expanding our knowledge of this matter to people?” are a few of the questions she will confront.
In July 1960, armed only with a pair of binoculars and a notebook and encouraged by world-famous paleontologist Louis Leakey, she set up camp on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika and began to observe the fascinating primates.
Few would have imagined that her name would become synonymous with the creatures who have become her life-long companions. Over the years, the primatologist — who was initially referred to as “that blond English girl studying the apes” by the editor in chief of National Geographic Magazine Melville Bell Grosvenor — learned that in order to save her beloved chimpanzees it was also necessary to improve the lives of the people living in the area of Gombe National Park.
Since 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute has worked to protect the chimpanzees through the recognition that this is not possible without addressing the needs of local people. These needs are being addressed through programmes that began in 1994 and have been replicated in other parts of Africa.
In 1991 Dr Goodall began the Roots & Shoots project that aims to interest Tanzanian and other young people in 130 countries in the importance of protecting the global environment.
The talk will begin at 7 pm with refreshments and tickets on sale from 5.30 pm at the auditorium. The talk is sponsored in part by the Kenya Museum Society.
Lecture fee for members is Sh600 and Sh800 for everyone else.