martes, 29 de mayo de 2012

The influence of Jane Goodall

Posted on April 24, 2012

Young Goodall with chimpanzees.
When people hear the name Jane Goodall, they immediately imagine adorable chimpanzees learning sign language and playing with a lovely grey-haired woman. That British woman has dedicated her life to the study of chimpanzees and today is considered a highly successful advocate for the species, which is in danger of extinction.

At only 26 years old, Jane Goodall pursued wild chimpanzees out of her anthropological curiosity. With optimism and patience, she showed the world that chimpanzees are absurdly similar to humans. This similarity entices humans who view her work, intrigued by the parallels that can be drawn between the human race and the chimpanzee species. The intrigue and connectivity that humans feel towards chimpanzees is what drives individuals to care about the conservation of their habitats and protection of the chimpanzee species from poachers and negative human influence in general.

Dr. Jane Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute in hopes of continuing the support of chimpanzees and spreading awareness of endangered chimpanzees across the world. The mission of her foundation is to do the following upon receiving financial assistance from sympathizers and activists worldwide.
End the large-scale commercial bushmeat trade, a crisis so severe it could lead to the loss of several critical species including chimpanzees, gorillas and elephants;
Provide a safe haven for more than 150 orphaned chimpanzees at Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of the Congo;
Restore African habitat through balanced, sustainable, community programs which involve local citizens in conservation and community development; and
Educate and empower youth through Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program.

The Roots & Shoots program is a fantastic use of human sympathy for chimpanzees. As a conservationist, Jane Goodall knows that she can only do so much herself and that the generations that follow her must have the same, if not more fiery, passion for the livelihood of chimpanzees.

Anthropology is not all texts and scientific findings for the sake of academia; it is appealing the cultures of humanity and utilizing human connection and investment to improve the world around us. This entry was posted in Student Blog Posts by Mackenzie Mohr

Early Days
Jane Goodall arrived in Africa, full of dreams. Even as a child, she’d dreamed of living among wild animals and writing about them.Tarzan and Dr. Dolittle were her favorite books, and she knew she’d be a much better jungle companion for Tarzan than that other Jane. African wildlife adventures were an unlikely calling for a little girl in the 1930s and 1940s. But from the beginning, Jane’s mother, Vanne, was encouraging. “You can do whatever you set your mind to,” she said.

When Jane was 22 and working as an assistant in a London film studio, an opportunity arose. Her friend Clo sent a letter, inviting Jane to her family’s new farm in Kenya. Jane wasted no time moving back home, to Bournemouth, so she could earn money as a waitress and save up for the round-trip passage to Africa. Every night after work, she put her earnings under the carpet in the drawing room.

In 1957, she set sail. The Kenya Castle docked in Mombasa on April 2. Within weeks, Jane met Louis S. B. Leakey, famed archaeologist and paleontologist. He was taken with Jane’s energy, general knowledge and avid interest in animals. He hired her as an assistant and eventually asked Jane to undertake a study of a group of wild chimpanzees living on a lakeshore in Tanzania. He reasoned that knowledge about wild chimpanzees, who were little-understood at the time, could shed light on our evolutionary past.

In July 1960, Jane stepped onto the beach at Gombe. Her mother had traveled with her, to satisfy British authorities who didn’t want a young woman living alone in the jungle (Tanzania was “Tanganyika” at that time -- a British protectorate).

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The first weeks at Gombe were frustrating for Jane. The chimpanzees were very shy and fled whenever they saw her. Jane was discouraged, but one day found a good vantage point, high on the highest peak, to observe the chimps’ comings and goings with her binoculars.

Chimps were thought to be vegetarians, but one day from her peak, Jane saw a chimpanzee, David Greybeard, feeding on a baby bush pig, sharing the flesh with a female. She would see chimpanzees hunting monkeys and other small mammals many times at Gombe.

Within two weeks of that first meat-eating, Jane saw something that excited her even more. She was hiking up to the peak when she saw a chimp through the undergrowth. It was David again, this time at a termite mound. He was using a long flexible probe to fish termites out of their nests. Jane made a rough hide of some palm fronds so she could observe the action the next time chimps came to the termite nests. Sure enough, David came back, this time with a big chimp named Goliath. Jane watched, breathless, as they stripped leaves off the stems to fashion the fishing tools. Into the holes went the probes. Out they came with termites clinging to them–tasty snacks for the two chimps. David and Goliath were making and using tools.

Up until that point, anthropologists saw tool-making as a defining trait of mankind. When Jane wrote Louis Leakey of her discovery, he replied: “Now we must redefine ‘tool,’ redefine ‘man’ or accept chimpanzees as humans.”

The distinction between man and ape was blurring. Leakey was ecstatic. He obtained further funding for Jane’s study and arranged for Jane, who had no degree, to enroll in Cambridge University as a doctoral student.

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Personalities, minds and emotions
Jane worked hard to deepen her knowledge and write up her observations. Her view of the chimps – as individuals with distinct personalities, minds and emotions – did not always mesh with the views of her ethologist colleagues who understood animal behavior in a more impersonal way. But even as Jane’s professors mentored her in formal scientific methodology and helped her to lay a firm foundation for the long-term data collection at Gombe, she insisted on the validity of her observations. She also insisted on giving the chimpanzees names instead of numbers in her writings. This was unheard of at that time.

Jane traveled back and forth to Gombe and began to form a clearer image of chimp society. She saw that, unlike many primates, chimps don’t travel as a troop. They forage alone or in small parties -- a mother with her children, or 2 or 3 friendly males. Often these groups come together where food is plentiful.

Females and their young form the most basic units of chimp society. Males compete vigorously for status and for access to estrus females. Chimpanzee females in estrus flaunt pink genital swellings, and attract large numbers of males, with whom they mate promiscuously. Males assert themselves with impressive “charging displays”. He who can intimidate all others and win their submissive “pant-grunts” is known as the alpha male.

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Through the years Jane would see a succession of alphas – power transfers accompanied by much drama. When Jane began her study, Goliath was alpha male. He was bold, with a fast charging display, and he had an important adult male ally, David Greybeard. But a small, low-ranking chimpanzee named Mike proved to be smarter. Mike’s displays weren’t particularly impressive until the day he incorporated an empty 5-gallon kerosene can into his act. There were always plenty of these empty cans around camp. The loud clanging terrified the other chimps. By the time Mike could kick three cans in front of him as he blasted through a group, he’d become alpha male. Even though the Gombe staff took his cans away, Mike was alpha for six years.

Jane’s observations were published in National Geographic, with captivating photos by filmmaker/photographer Hugo van Lawick, who became Jane’s first husband. As the level of support for the Gombe study increased, Jane and Hugo were able to build a permanent camp with chimp-proof buildings and to hire more researchers. The Gombe Stream Research Center was born.

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“Just as awful”
As the Gombe study continued into the 1970s, events revealed the darker side of chimp nature. Jane says, “When I first started at Gombe,” Jane said, “I thought the chimps were nicer than we are. But time has revealed that they are not. They can be just as awful. ”Mike’s six-year reign as alpha male ended when the younger, larger and very aggressive Humphrey charged him and pounded on him. At about the same time, seven of the 16 community males withdrew from the central Kasakela area or the park to the southern part of their range, Kahama.

Conflict between the Kasakela chimps and the splinter group erupted and escalated over time. Figan had defeated Humphrey and won the submission of all the Kasakela males. Now he took them to “war” against Kahama. Their strategy was simple: hunt the enemy down, one at a time, attack them brutally, and leave them to die of their wounds. Within four years, they eliminated all seven Kahama males and at least one of the females.

Violent events were taking place among the Kasakela females as well. Passion, one of the high-ranking females, and her daughter, Pom, developed an abnormal taste for other females’ babies. In a 3-year span, they killed and ate between 5 and 10 newborn infants. While this was extreme, other high-ranking females have also been seen attacking new mothers and taking their infants.

While such brutality is disturbing, Jane is quick to point out that chimpanzees are also capable of altruism. For example, two infants, Mel and Darbee, each about 3 1/2 years old, were orphaned by a pneumonia epidemic. Both orphans were at first adopted by unrelated adolescent males, Spindle and Beethoven, who had themselves lost their mothers. Spindle would even share his night nest and allow Mel to ride clinging to his belly if it was rainy and cold.

Expanding mission
Through the decades, the Gombe Stream Research Center grew. Jane and fellow researchers continued to look at chimpanzee feeding behavior, ecology, infant development, aggression, as well as other primate species. They also were able to document details of chimpanzee “consortships” -- periods in which males take females away from other community males for unchallenged mating time. Jane suggests that chimpanzees thus show a latent capacity to develop more permanent bonds similar to monogamy or serial monogamy.

Jane continued to spend time at Gombe, even as she began to travel widely promoting conservation. But her main priority was to analyze and write up 25 years’ worth of Gombe research. Her book The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior was published in 1986. Its publication was celebrated by a conference in Chicago, “Understanding Chimpanzees”, which brought together many chimp biologists. They were fascinated by one another’s findings, but alarmed to realize how widespread and urgent were the threats facing wild chimps.

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The message was clear: We understand chimps much better now. They are more like us than we ever imagined. But now we must help save them. Jane had gone into the conference as a scientist. She left as an activist, determined to save the amazing creatures who she knew so well.

Photos, top-bottom: Hugo van Lawick, Bill Wallauer, Hugo van Lawick, Andy Nelson, Bill Wallauer, David Holloway

Jane Today
Jane Goodall is on the road more than 300 days per year. At any given time, she could be on any continent. On any given day, she could be speaking to a group of students, meeting with government officials to discuss conservation issues, sitting before television cameras being interviewed, or meeting with donors to raise money for JGI.

Often, Jane holds public lectures during which she discusses her years at Gombe, the state of chimpanzees today, JGI’s programs, and each individual’s power to effect positive change. Jane is in great demand and known as an inspirational speaker who often moves her audiences to tears. Some people say their lives have been changed by Jane’s message and her example.

What about Gombe National Park – Jane’s favorite place on Earth? Does she spend much time there today? Jane generally gets back to Gombe at least twice per year, to “recharge her batteries” and see what her now-famous chimpanzees are up to.

Jane has a special connection to young people. They respond not only to her passion for and curiosity about animals, but to her courage and hope for a better world. Reaching out to these young people is a high priority for Jane, and conservation education, as well as general education, is a critical part of JGI’s work today. Jane hears firsthand the voices of young people -- from Tanzania to China, North America to the United Kingdom – speaking of the need for change, their hopes, and their determination to make a better world. She carries their message to audiences all over the world.

This is Jane’s life today – sometimes exhausting, but always driven by purpose. Jane is determined to use just about every minute she has working to save chimpanzees and to empower people -- young and old -- to do what they can for a better world.

Photo: David Holloway

ORIGINAL: Washington Post
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Field of Inquiry: Interviews With People in Science
Jane Goodall: "It seems hard to believe it's been half a century. And yet it doesn't seem like yesterday, either."

(Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)
Primatologist Jane Goodall began her groundbreaking research into chimpanzee behavior on July 14, 1960: 50 years ago tomorrow. She was a 26-year-old with no scientific experience or college degree. British authorities balked at the idea of having Goodall stay alone in the wilderness around Lake Tanganyika, in what is now Tanzania, so her mother went with her.

During Goodall's six-month sojourn in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve, now Gombe National Park, Goodall saw a chimp strip leaves off twigs to fashion tools for fishing termites from a nest. Until then, scientists thought that humans were the only creatures that created and used tools. This was just the first of many Goodall discoveries that have redefined the relationship between humans and other animals.

In 1994, Goodall started the Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education (TACARE, pronounced "take care") project. It works with local communities to improve their people's lives -- by providing necessities from health care to lavatories -- while rehabilitating the environment with tree nurseries and better farming techniques. A U.N. Messenger of Peace and founder of the Arlington-based Jane Goodall Institute, Goodall spoke with us on the phone from Rome, where she was in the middle of a whirlwind travel schedule to mark the anniversary of her work.
-- Rachel Saslow

Does it feel like 50 years since you started your chimpanzee research?
It seems hard to believe it's been half a century. And yet it doesn't seem like yesterday, either, unless I'm actually there up on a peak or by a waterfall and I can capture how I felt back then.

And how was that?
That everything is so new and exciting and you never know what's going to happen. It was an amazing time of discovery and exploration and living a dream.

Was your mom with you for the full six months?
No, she came for four months and then the government decided that I might be crazy, but I was okay. She missed the great discovery of [chimpanzee] toolmaking and tool-using. I would have liked to share that with her. I could tell the Africans, but it wasn't that exciting to them.

Did you know immediately that you had made a major discovery?
I only knew because [biologist and naturalist] George Schaller was there just before, and he told me if I saw tool-using it would make the whole thing worthwhile.

When you first presented your research in the 1960s, some scientists accused you of anthropomorphizing chimpanzees because of the nature of your findings and because you assigned them names rather than numbers. Is there a danger in anthropomorphizing them?

The danger lies in the other direction. Of course, we can't attribute all human emotions and feelings to animals, that's ridiculous. If we're in doubt, we should give the animal the benefit of the doubt. They're continually surprising [to] people.

What advice would you give your 26-year-old self?
My mother used to say, "If you want something, you find a way to do it." That's what I tell all the kids when I meet them today.

How has Gombe changed since 1960?
It has totally changed. About in 1992, I flew over the entire area of Gombe and the surroundings and was utterly shocked to see how total the deforestation outside the tiny national park was. There were more people there than the land could support.

Aren't some of the people there as a result of your research? How do you feel about that?
It's quite disruptive, but it's a national park and the tourists need to come. It's all right if there's only a few of them. I was so spoiled -- I had the forests and the chimpanzees all to myself and now you go out and see a group of chimps and there's always a couple of tourists with a guide.

It's not an isolated place anymore. If we hadn't started the TACARE program, there would be no hope of the chimps' surviving. Because of TACARE, people have allowed trees to grow in as a buffer zone around the park.

How many chimps are left there compared to 50 years ago?
Around 100. There used to be 150 in three communities, so we lost one community. Mainly, they used to spend a lot of time out of the park and now there's no habitat outside. And refugees from the Congo settled there, and they eat chimps.

How often do you visit Gombe now?
I get there twice a year, but it's very brief, just a few days to visit the TACARE projects and the youth program Roots and Shoots.

Do you miss research?
I loved collecting and analyzing data. I can't do either now. I can make sure that Gombe goes on.

Some people still say, "Why are you spending so much time with youth?" I could kill myself trying to save chimps and forests, but if children don't grow up to be better stewards of the environment than we are, then what's the point?

What's some of the most exciting research coming out of there now?
What I'm most fascinated by is DNA analysis. We never used to know who fathers are, and now that we can, one can look for any bond between a male and his biological offspring. It's important if you're interested in heredity and how humans inherit character. Nature and nurture, questions like that.

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