Jane Goodall, Famous Anthropologist

Jane Goodall in 2015. Editorial credit: Kelleher Photography / Shutterstock.com.
Jane Goodall in 2015. Editorial credit: Kelleher Photography / Shutterstock.com.

Jane Goodall is a British woman popular for her scientific study of primates and the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees. She is perhaps the first known person with extensive knowledge on chimpanzees. Jane founded the Jane Goodall Institute, a global wildlife and environment conservation organization whose headquarter is in Vienna, Virginia. Her interaction with the wild chimpanzees backed with a study at the Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania put her in a position to champion for protection and welfare of animals. She has also served on a board that monitors the Non-human Rights Project.

5. Early Life

Jane Goodall was born in 1934 in London. She developed a love for animals at a very tender age and she had a lifelike chimpanzee stuffed animal as a little girl. She still keeps the stuffed animal in her room. She grew up in London where her passion for animals grew. Jane has since documented her love for animals as a young girl in her book “Reason for my Hope.” Jane got married to Baron Hugo van Lawick, a Dutch nobleman in March 1964, with whom they had a son. Baron worked as a wildlife photographer and the couple divorced after ten years of marriage. In 1975, Jane married Derek Bryceson.

4. Career

Jane’s love for animals landed her on a farm on the Kenyan highlands of Africa in 1957 where she worked as a secretary. In 1960, she started her research work at the Kasakela chimpanzee community in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. In 1977, Jane became a global leader spearheading the work involving protection of chimpanzees and their habitats. She also published several articles and books during the research period and even after. She has since been focusing on advocating for welfare of chimpanzees and environment. Jane also served as a board member of Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries outside of Africa.

3. Major Contributions

Jane Goodall is credited for her commitment to environmental and humanitarian work. She was the former president of Advocates for Animals, a body that creates awareness against negative exploitation of animals such as using animals in medical research, zoos, hard labor, and sports. She was a patron of an animal protection group founded in Australia and another organization that focuses on addressing population size and how it affects environmental sustainability. Jane worked with a number of social entrepreneurs mobilizing the youths to embrace the conservation of biodiversity to enable them to create awareness globally. Jane is also a vegan activist.

2. Challenges

While Jane Goodall is one of the most accomplished in history championing for animal protection and environmental conservation, she has faced challenges and controversies. She once described the monkeys’ enclosure in Edinburgh Zoo as a better place than where human beings lived because she was agitated by hunting of animals that was going on. Her methodology of study has been criticized citing the use of unacceptable standards of practice. Some recent studies contradict her findings on the study of the chimpanzee and regard her observations as distorted.

1. Legacy

Jane is a global leader and the founder of Jane Goodall Institute. The institute was created to help put together handwritten documents, hard copy photographs and other important information collated during her research. Currently, all the information and data has been digitalized for easy access. Jane has received several honors and awards following her passion in environmental and humanitarian work. A cartoonist by the name Gary Larson created a story relating to her research on the chimpanzee which created a buzz as people thought the idea was not good. However, Jane liked it.


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