Did you know that Dr. Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934?
Here at MUTTS, Dr. Jane is one of our very favorite, most-admired humans, and Patrick in particular has been inspired by her incredible work on behalf of animal welfare and environmental conservation. (He even wrote a book, titled Me … Jane about her life as a child. It’s available here.)
Want to learn more about Dr. Jane? In honor of all the amazing ways she continues to inspire us, here are a few interesting facts about her life and work.
- Jane was just 26 when she traveled from her home in London to the Gombe Stream Reserve (in what is now Tanzania) to study chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
- As a child, Jane dreamed of studying animals in Africa. It was anthropologist Louis Leakey, whom she met while working as a secretary in Kenya, who first paved her way. He’d been looking for a primate researcher, and chose Jane not just because of her passion, but also because she seemed to have the demeanor and attitude necessary for the research.
- Among her most notable findings at Gombe were the discoveries that chimps could construct and use tools (a trait once considered exclusive to humans), that they communicate using a primitive but ritualized language and that they occasionally eat meat (it was believed they were vegetarian). She also observed a complex hierarchal social structure and was accepted, for a time, into their troop.
- In 1977, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute to support continued research in Gombe, as well as to help protect the chimps who live there. In the 1980s, as a response to deforestation and other environmental threats, she broadened the purpose of the Institute “to ensure that her vision and life’s work continue to mobilize the collective power of individual action to save the natural world we all share.” You can sign up for news and updates from the Institute here.
- In 1991, Jane founded Roots & Shoots, a worldwide program that empowers young people to become compassionate and environmentally conscious leaders.
- In 2002, Jane was named a Messenger of Peace by the United Nations. Messengers of Peace help raise support for and share the message of certain United Nations initiatives.
- Jane is a vegetarian. In a video from the Jane Goodall institute, she explains: “We now know that intensive meat-eating, which is getting more common all around the world, is horribly damaging to the environment, as well as being terribly cruel.”
- Jane says the best piece of advice she ever received came from her mother. “When I wanted to go to Africa and everybody laughed at me, she would say, ‘If you really want something, you have to work hard, take advantage of opportunity, and never give up.'”
- Contrary to popular belief, Jane’s favorite animal is a dog — because, she explains, they’re faithful and give unconditional love. You can hear her talk more about her love for dogs in this video from the Jane Goodall Institute.
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