Jane Godall, a name known for her dedication to primates and conservation of wildlife. She chose a life far away from the city. She chose having a life not of material things. This choice made her an inspiration to a lot of people. What she did was hard and the fact that she’s a woman. Take a look at the journey of this amazing woman and how she changed the world of anthropology and wildlife.
She was born Dame Jane Morris Goodall on the 3 of April 1934 in the city of London. As a young girl she had a life-like chimpanzee toy named Jubilee and that was her interest on animals began. Her father was an engineer and her mother was a novelist. She started observing animals at a young age. There was this one time she had spent five hours in a hen-house so that she could see how they lay eggs. When she turned ten years old, she dreamt of going to Africa and live with the animals. Her mother encouraged her to follow her dreams but her parents got divorced. She moved with her mother to Bournemouth, UK. She pursued a doctorate in ethology in 1965 from Cambridge University. Her first study of the chimpanzee happened in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. This was set by Louis Leakey also an anthropologist. Since her passion is on animals she continued her journey to Africa specifically a farm in the highlands of Kenya and the year was 1957. She married twice first was on 1964 to a wildlife photographer and then on 1975 to a Member of Parliament and director of National Parks.
The highlight of her life was in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania in 1960, where she studied chimpanzees’ social and family life. She had a way of observing them instead of the traditional way of giving them numbers. She gave them names which it is not so normal that time. They were not supposed to be attached to the subjects. She also observed them through their personalities. She concluded that even chimpanzees were capable of thinking and can feel emotions just like humans. She had observed that they are capable of loving and has affectionate bonds just like how family members and community does. These evidences that are similar between humans and chimpanzees implied that they are not only genetically similar but also emotionally and socially.
One of her greatest accomplishment was being accepted into the chimpanzee society for 22 months. A high ranking female bonded with her and eventually other members accepted her too.
She was able to establish her Jane Godall Institute on 1977. This was for the Gombe research and also to protect chimpanzees and their homes. This was recognized around the world and got established to nineteen offices around the world. She’s still devoted to the Institute until now, travelling 300 days a year to share talks to conventions and seminars. She’s also an animal welfare activist for Advocates for Animals, an organization against the use of animals in laboratories, zoos, farm and sports.
She really redefined how people should look on the relationship of man, primates and animals. She is an example of true hero that must be admired.