May 19, 2001
Jane Goodall is one of the world’s most admired women, acclaimed scientist, and conservationist (www.nationalgeographic.com). The work that she does is called ethology, which is the study of animal behavior. Such a successful woman has numerous admirable qualities. She has contributed greatly to society as well as to the animal kingdom. Her research paved the way for countless primate studies, and has changed the way many people view chimpanzees. Trying to narrow down only three admirable qualities about her is difficult, since she has so many. To me, her most admirable qualities are her patience and persistence to understand animals, her research involving chimpanzees, and her contributions she has made to the world by establishing various institutions.
Studying chimpanzees is not an easy task. Subsequently, Jane Goodall made it look as simple as doing everyday activities. When she started the research, the chimpanzees fled from her in fear. It took many months for her to get close to them. With patience and persistence, she searched the forest everyday, deliberately trying not to get too close to them. Everyday she did this for many months. On some days Jane would observe the chimpanzees through binoculars from a peak overlooking the forest, just so she wouldn’t disturb their natural behavior. Gradually over a long period of time the chimpanzees became accustomed to her. At this time, she would be able to move up to them and just sit there and study them. She believed that this was her breakthrough in her research. Jane tells us “I must find a way to watch free, wild animals living their own, undisturbed lives. I wanted to learn things that no one else knew, uncover secrets through patient observation. I wanted to come as close to talking to animals as I could (www.nationalgeographic.com).” To be able to have such patience and persistence is remarkable.
Jane’s scientific discoveries have laid the foundation for all future primate studies. Her interest was studying the chimpanzees to gain insight into humans’ evolutionary past. Her observations have changed the way researchers and everyday individuals view chimpanzees. Jane had observed chimpanzees making and using tools for different reasons, such as using straws for extracting termites from nests. Her studies have showed many similarities between humans and chimpanzees, this discovery had amazed the world. The longer her research continued, the more it became obvious how like people chimpanzees really are. Some people believed that her research would last only a few months, however it has become the longest field study on any animal species in their natural surroundings (www.janegoodall.org).
Jane Goodall has made tremendous contributions to society as well as to the animal kingdom by establishing various institutions. These institutions have brought conservation, and wildlife awareness to chimpanzees. In 1977 Jane founded The Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and conservation. She has established chimpanzee sanctuaries for the care and rehabilitation of orphaned chimpanzees in four African countries (www.janegoodall.org). This institute was also founded to provide ongoing support for field research on wild chimpanzees (www.janegoodall.org). Jane created a program of the Jane Goodall Institute called Roots & Shoots in 1991. This program addresses the obvious issue of the need for kids in schools to have an understanding of their environment and wildlife. It is a program that involves the groups that participate in three kinds of hands-on activities. One, to make the environment around them better, two, to show that they care about the human community around them, and finally things that make the world a better place for the animals around them (www.janegoodall.org).
Jane Goodall has become world famous from her research, lectures, articles, best selling books, and her successful wildlife programs. She’s currently teaching and encouraging young people to appreciate the conversation of chimpanzees and all creatures great and small (www.janegoodall.org). She’s a great role model and has changed the way people view chimpanzees. Jane has devoted her entire life the work of conservation and wildlife. How can someone not admire such a self-sacrificing person? From her patience and persistence, to her breakthrough research, to the institutions she has founded, this woman has made her childhood dream become a reality and made me along with countless individuals admire her