One life: A celebration of Dr Jane Goodall

02 April 2021

One Life

By David Neale, Animal Welfare Director

Among the most legendary scientists, primatologists, conservationists and changemakers of our time, Jane Goodall went to Africa at the urging of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey and began her groundbreaking studies of chimpanzees. 

She faced and overcame many obstacles and has since dedicated her life to protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world and the lives of people, animals and the environment.

Jane Goodall is a name now synonymous with chimpanzee protection, and a social and environmental movement to protect people, animals and the natural environment. Jane has dedicated her life to this cause following her early studies of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park which shed new light on how they live their lives and has subsequently led to new fields of biological study to investigate the emotional and cognitive abilities of all animal species.

Jane was a pioneer in this field, meticulously watching and documenting the daily lives of chimpanzees to truly understand their nature and to show the world that whilst they have many characteristics unique to chimpanzees, they also have many which cross the species divide including the development of societies and individual friendships, strong mother-infant bonds, the ability to both make and use tools, and cultural transmission of such behavioural traits within populations in similar ways to our own cultural practices and traditions. 

Her dedication and commitment to understanding and revealing the natural lives of chimpanzees, and the loss they are experiencing due to our behaviours and choices has paved the way for conservation efforts that continue to this day to protect them and their forest homes.

April 3rd marks the birthday of this renowned global changemaker and thanks to her selfless dedication many millions of people have been touched with the desire to watch, learn about and ultimately protect the natural world around them.

Jane’s story can be explored in detail here and in this trailer to the National Geographic film about her life and work.

Click here for more details of her work