Jane had come to East Africa from England in 1957, to pursue a dream she'd had since she was a child: to study and write about animals in Africa. In Kenya, legendary anthropologist Louis Leakey hired her as his assistant. He was eager to organize field studies of all the great apes in the wild, for they could teach much about human evolution.
What was known about chimpanzees when Jane Goodall stepped off that boat to begin her study of the wild chimp communities living in Tanzanian forest around one of the world's longest, largest and deepest freshwater lakes, (Lake Tanganyika)?
On July 14, 2010, it will be 50 years to the day that Jane Goodall first stepped out of a game warden’s boat onto the pebbly beach at the Gombe Chimpanzee Reserve in what is today Tanzania. At the time, she expected to be in the forest observing wild chimpanzees for 3 or 4 months.
"Scientists building Green Corridor to connect fading chimps colony to nearby mountains" -- USA Today
Japanese biologists have now begun to plant a corridor of trees across a savanna to try to connect one tiny isolated group of chimpanzees to a mountain range where thousands live.
Raising awareness is a powerful means of creating change, especially in this day of global communication. If you educate yourself about the bushmeat problem and help spread the word, then you will be making a meaningful contribution to the fight to save chimpanzees and other endangered species.
Below are some points to get your started, along with links to deeper information throughout the web.
Did you know that there are an estimated 1,000 chimpanzees in biomedical research and testing laboratories or "warehouses" across the U.S.?
An example of tool use, chimpanzees dip leaves into streams to soak up water to drink.
Scientists are validating and advancing Jane Goodall's early observations that chimpanzees experience grief (among other "human" emotions). When a 50-year-old chimpanzee named Pansy was dying in a zoo in Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Parkin in Stirlingshire, Scotland, companion chimps gathered around her, groomed her and caressed her. Her daughter slept by her side even after she died.