By: SABRINA G.
Connecticut, Age 11
Jane Goodall, an ethologist, was born on April 3, 1934 in London, England. At the age of five, due to the outbreak of World War II, her mother took her and her sister to live with her grandmother at the Birches, an 1872 Victorian red brick house in Bournemouth, England. Jane spent the rest of her childhood and adolescence there. Jane loved this house and still considers it her home when she is in England. It is where she wrote her autobiography.
Even at an early age Jane was fascinated with animal behavior. She was not excited at all about going to school. She dreamed about nature, animals, and the magic of far-off wild and remote places. In 1956 she received an invitation from a childhood friend to visit their farm in Kenya. Her life would be changed forever. She then met the famous anthropologist, Louis Leakey. He hired her as his personal secretary. Louis was anxious to initiate a scientific study of chimpanzees and he thought Jane would be the perfect candidate. He had been looking for someone with an open mind, a passion for knowledge, a love of animals, and with monumental patience. JaneĂs dream had finally come true!! On July 16, 1960, Jane and her mother headed to Gombe.
At first the chimps were uncomfortable with JaneĂs presence and she could get no nearer than 500 yards before the chimps fled. She then discovered a nonthreatening way to observe them. The same time every morning she would appear on the high ground near a feeding area. Soon the chimps were no longer frightened and within a year, they allowed her to move as close as 30 feet to their feeding area. Within 2 years they were coming to her in search of bananas. Jane Goodall called this the banana club. She became closely acquainted with about 100 chimps. She imitated their behavior, ate their foods, and even spent time in the trees. She observed a chimp making and using a tool, it had long been thought that man was the only creature on earth to make and use tools. She also witnessed chimps throwing stones as weapons and comforting each other with touch. She discovered that chimps were not exclusively vegetarians.
In 1977, Jane founded the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation to provide ongoing support for field research on wild chimpanzees. Today the mission of the Institute is to empower individuals to take informed and compassionate action to improve the environment for all living things. She educated the public about the endangered habitat of the wild chimpanzees and about the unethical treatment of chimps that are used for scientific research. She works with business and local governments to promote ecological responsibility. She has gone on a number of lecture tours around the world in her efforts on behalf of captive chimpanzees. She outlined her position strongly in her 1990 book Through a Window: ˘The more we learn of the true nature of nonhuman animals, especially those with complex brains and corresponding complex social behavior, the more ethical concerns are raised regarding their use in the service of man-whether this be in entertainment, as pets, for food, in research laboratories or in any of the other uses in which we subject them. This concern is sharpened when the usage in question leads to intense physical or mental suffering-as is so often true wit regard to vivisection.÷ Goodall feels that young scientists must be educated to treat animals more compassionately. ˘By and large,÷ she has written, ˘students are taught that it is ethically acceptable to perpetrate, in the name of science, what, from the point of view of animals, would certainly qualify as torture.÷
Jane Goodall has received many honors including the Medal of Tanzania, the National Geographic SocietyĂs Hubbard Medal, JapanĂs prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research 2003, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, and the Gandhi/King Award for Nonviolence. In April 2002 Secretary űGeneral Annan named Dr. Goodall a United Nations ˘Messenger of Peace.÷ Messengers serve as advocates in areas of poverty, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS, disarmament, community development and environmentalism.
Today, Jane spends most of her time lecturing, sharing her message of hope for the future and encouraging young people to make a difference in their world. She truly believes that every individual matters, every individual has a role to play, and every individual makes a difference. She continues to spread awareness about the true nature of animals, the extent of their suffering, and our responsibilities towards them. A team of trained Tanzanians continue research in Gombe to this day.