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Leading the Way


Jane Goodall began studying chimpanzees in the 1960s. She worked in what is now Gombe Stream National Park, in Tanzania. She also started the Jane Goodall Institute. Goodall is now the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees. She spoke with TFK.

What inspired you to dedicate your life to chimpanzee research and conservation?

I decided when I was 10 years old that I’d go to Africa. I wanted to live with wild animals. I wanted to write books about them. Louis Leakey was a famous paleontologist. He gave me this amazing opportunity. I got to go and live with and learn from not just any animal, but the one most like us.

What was the toughest obstacle you faced while working in the field?

With the chimps, the big problem was that they ran away as soon as they saw me. Finally, that was overcome.

Why did you create the Jane Goodall Institute?

The goals are to continue the study of the Gombe chimps and to save their habitats. Also, to work with youth in our Roots & Shoots program.