ML 139396

AudioDateDownLeftRightUpCloseReportGallerySettingsGiftLanguageGridListMapMenuPhotoPlayPlusSearchStarUserVideo

Interview :04 - 29:08 Play :04 - More
Audio »
More
Video »
Browse
species »
Jane Goodall  

Age/Sex
Identification
Solicitation
Behavior
Note

 

100%

 

 

 

Jane Goodall's life; Chimpanzee research  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
17 Feb 1999

    Geography
  • United States
    District of Columbia
    Locality
  • Washington, D.C.; National Public Radio
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 38.90213   -77.02079
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Dual-Channel Mono

Jane Goodall
Radio Expeditions/ Geographic Century
February 17, 1999

AC
00:00:44 When you were a young child you always had a love for animals. Your mother was an important influence in you life. Could you talk about her influence? 00:01:09

JG
00:01:10 She was a really very strong and meaningful influence all through my childhood and she¿s still alive she still is today but when I was 1 and a half years old and she found that I had taken a whole handful of earthworms to bed with me she didn¿t get all upset, ¿Uk, throw them out of the window!¿ she said ¿Jane they need the earth.¿ And I ran back with them into the garden. And there were so many incidents like that in my early life where she supported and helped me find the books I wanted to read which were books about animals and eventually introduced me to Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle with whom I fell madly in love with, when I was 11 years old.

AC
00:01:49 Did you go see Tarzan movies? 00:01:50

JG
00:01:51 I hat.., the first time she took me to a Tarzan movie, she had to save up, it was in the war and we didn¿t have much money. And I burst into tears and she had to take me out. She said ¿ Whatever is the matter?¿ I said that¿s not Tarzan.¿ Because in those days, there weren¿t that many movies around I suppose. There was no television and so we used our imagination and the Tarzan I had imagined wasn¿t at all like Johnny Wismaller (?).

AC
00:02:17 Tell me when you imagined your life as a child, you thought that you would be involved with animals in some way?¿ 00:02:29

JG
00:02:30 Yes, when I fell in love with Tarzan, that was when I made this absolute determined.. Can I start that again?.. When I was 11 and fell in love with Tarzan, I determined that when I grew up, what I would do is go to Africa, live with animals, and write books about them and everyone laughed and they said ¿How will you get to Africa?¿ They thought it was the dark continent. We¿re going back 50 years to a very different kind of a world and as I say we didn¿t have any money let alone a car so how could I get to this dark continent where there were poisoned arrows and strange drumbeats sending out sinister messages at night and cannibals? But also those amazing animals. But my mother never laughed. She used to say ¿Jane, if you really want to do that then if you work hard enough and you take advantage of opportunity and you never give up, I¿m sure you¿ll find a way.¿

AC
00:03:33 Did you imagine yourself in the field or at a university teaching somewhere? 00:03:44

JG
00:03:45 I never, ever thought about a university I just wanted to be out in the, preferably forest and learn about the things that I saw and write about them. So, from a very small child I used to go out on nature walks, by myself, with my dog and find some birds nest then I would go back, day after day and draw little pictures and write little descriptions of the behavior. So I suppose I saw myself as one of those 18th century naturalists.

AC
00:04:17 How was it that you prepared yourself to be an explorer? You went to university? 00:04:25

JG
00:04:25 No, no I didn¿t. I just left high school and we didn¿t, we couldn¿t afford university. In those days to get a scholarship you had to be very good in a foreign language and I was always hopeless. So my mother said well if you learn how to be a secretary you can get a job anywhere in the world that you like, so why don¿t you do that? So, I did that and then the opportunity came when I had a job in London with documentary films as a matter of fact not even being a secretary. But then I got an invitation from a school friend whose parents had moved to Kenya, would I go for a holiday. Well, there you see, that was it. That was what I had subconsciously been waiting for so I left the job in London which was wonderful but paid little, went home and worked as a waitress and saved up the wages and saved up the tips until I had enough money not for a return flight by plane because those passenger planes were still pretty expensive then and the cheapest way was to go by boat, one of the old passenger liners so that was what I did.

AC
00:05:33 And how was it that you became a field researcher in chimpanzees? 00:05:39

JG
00:05:40 It was the amazing good fortune I had in meeting Louis Leakey and he was very impressed by the fact that went he took me around the museum, the Natural History Museum in Nairobi I could answer most of his questions about animals because I had gone on reading about animals in Africa, I¿d been to the Natural History museum in London a lot. So , Louis gave me a job as his assistant well, secretary really. Then let me go with himself and his wife and one other young English girl, Julian to Aldivi. Well, in those days Aldivi, had not only did it not have a road leading there it didn¿t even have a trail, there was nothing, just wild, wild Africa and every day after we¿d been digging in away in the hot sun all day Julian and I were allowed on the plains and all the animals were there then, the zebras, and giraffes, the antelope, one evening there was rhino and another evening there was a young male lion who followed us for oh, several hundred yards which was frightening but incredibly exciting. And that was when Louis Leakey offered me this amazing opportunity to go and try and learn about the chimpanzees.

AC
00:07:06 When you set off to do that how did you know how to be an explorer in the forest? You couldn¿t have had much experience. 00:07:39

JG
00:07:40 Louis Leaky helped make a list of the things that I would need. His biggest problem was getting funding because I didn¿t have a degree and I was female. And that wasn¿t, I mean a young woman going out in the bush in those days, umm-umm. He eventually found a wealthy American businessman, Laden Wilkey who said okay, four months. Then he had to persuade the British authorities in what was then Tanganika that it was all right for a young English girl, again, girl to go off into the bush and they wouldn¿t hear of it to start with and then they said fine, but she must have a companion. So, for the first three or four months it was my mother who volunteered to come. And so Louis Leakey worked out what we should take with us. It was very simple. I didn¿t really, it didn¿t matter that I didn¿t know. And one of the museum staff Berhard (?) drove mum and I there in his LandRover and then once we got to Gambi which already had been pinpointed as the place that I should be, somebody helped set up the tent, the gameranger, and that was it. And there were mum and I and we had one cook and one of the local people to carry my haversack and the rest was up to me.

AC
00:09:04 Did you encounter difficulties in trying to figure out what your field practices would be? How did you figure out how to do things? 00:09:26
JG
00:09:26 Trial in error was really how it all happened. I would go out and look for the chimps and the big problem at the beginning was that they would run away. So when your subject continually runs away it¿s a bit frustrating. And I got really really upset because I thought, if this precious bit of money runs out, and it really was an expedition on a shoestring, if that runs out then Louis will never get anymore and I will have let him down. It was awful. But fortunately, mum and I both got malaria. And I think we both nearly died. We¿d been told there was no malaria in that area, I don¿t know why. So we didn¿t even have any medication so we just lay and were ill and I got better a little bit before her and I couldn¿t go very far so I climbed up much nearer to camp than I¿d ever gone before and I was by myself because I didn¿t want anyone to see how weak I was and that was when I found this amazing lookout, this vantage point which became the Peak and I found that from there, with my binoculars, wearing the same colored clothes each day, gradually not only could I piece together some of their behavior from afar but they got used to seeing me there. So this was the big, that was how I developed the methods and then gradually they let me get closer and closer. And then one amazing individual, David Grey Beard, came into my camp and took bananas and eventually he would sometimes wander up to me in the forest and the others realized that , ¿Well, she¿s not as frightening as we thought.¿

AC
00:11:00 I wonder how often that happens with explorers. Your key was actually getting sick etc¿ Much more human story than brilliance etc..00:11:45

JG
00:11:45 I think the secret was that I was able to be on my own instead of accompanied by someone and that was less frightening to the chimps and because I found this peak, my helper, my Tanzanian helper, you know, he didn¿t mind that I went up there because he would be able to find me. Because he was commissioned by the park ranger that he shouldn¿t leave me alone but we made an arrangement and of course, gradually I could move down closer and closer. I collected their foods, examined their nests sometime stayed up there when they slept near by so that I could be there first thing in the morning. And I think that the key was patience. But you see when I was four years old and from city, mum and I went to stay on a farm in the country and for the first time I met animals close-up and one of my jobs was to collect hens eggs. So, I would get them mostly out of the little hen houses where they were supposed to lay them in the straw and ya know, I would pick up these eggs and put them in my little basket and I started to wonder, but where does the egg come out? I couldn¿t see a hole big enough. And I always say to the kids today, you go and look, you won¿t see a big enough hole either. And so apparently I was asking everyone, ¿where does the egg come out?¿ and they didn¿t tell me to my satisfaction so one day I saw a hen go up into the hen house and I followed and of course that didn¿t work, she squawked and flew out. So, I was only four and yet I must have worked out, well, I¿ll have to get there first and wait and so I did and I waited four whole hours, the family called the police , my mother was frantic but when she finally saw me, as dusk was falling, rushing toward the house all covered in straw, she saw those shining eyes, she didn¿t get mad at me. She sat down to hear this amazing story of how a hen lays an egg. So basically, the whole pattern of what I would do as an adult was there in that first little experience of observing animals. You need patience, you need to ask questions and you need to try and find answers , in my way anyway, without interfering with the subject. So I did the same with the chimps. I¿d sometimes find a fruiting tree and I¿d go there and I¿d wait.

AC
00:14:08 Eventually they would find it? 00:14:10

JG
00:14:11 Eventually they would find it. And very often saw me. I didn¿t try to hide, that didn¿t work. But I found that if I was there and in place, it was less frightening to them then if they were in place and I came tramping up.

AC
00:14:25 When you think back on your work what are you most significant accomplishments as far as chimpanzee discoveries? 00:15:05

JG
00:15:06 Well, I think the firstly, the obvious the big breakthrough was the tool using and tool making. That was in the early 1961 or even late 1960 and that was what enabled Louis Leakey to get more money so often that¿s quoted as one of the most significant observations. The relationships between family members, the long term enduring bonds which came gradually out of the study as the study continued year after year. I think the human like qualities of the chimpanzees, the nonverbal communication that¿s, the holding hands, kissing, patting on the back and the fact that they have emotions. And I think what I¿ll best be remembered for is breaking through that old tough science that required me, had I but known it not to name the chimps but to number them. A science that would not admit rationality in anything except humans, so only humans were supposed to use and make tools. Only humans were supposed to use their minds to solve simple problems and perhaps the most shocking of all, to science at that time was that chimpanzees had emotions and personalities and I shouldn¿t have talked about those things at that time but fortunately, I had not been to university, I didn¿t know those things. I knew moreover from all the things I watched. Dogs for example. You all know that dogs have emotions and feelings and that they can use their brains. Of course the chimpanzees could.

AC
00:16:51 You are known as a spokesperson and lecturer. How do you feel about that role? 00:17:43

JG
00:17:44 I think if you really care about what you are studying, and I do desperately care about the chimps and you suddenly realize, as I did in 1986 as I did when we had a conference bringing together people studying chimps indifferent parts of Africa, and you suddenly realize that the environment of the chimps is going and the chimps are beginning to disappear, we¿ve got to do something about it. And when you realize, as I did then, the extent of suffering of chimps n medical research and circuses and things like this. Because it was all coming together in a three day period, it was all very powerful for me. And I always say that it was a bit like St. Paul on the road to Damacus. I went as someone in planning to write the second big volume of my observations. I came out as someone who knew that my life had changed direction and now was the time to share, to raise awareness and to do whatever I could , my bit to try and make things better. I couldn¿t sit back in the forest. I still love it best but I could no longer be at peace with myself if I didn¿t do what I am doing now. Because I have to it¿s like a mission, if you will. And students, it¿s wonderful to see students go out to Gambi and follow the chimps that I know so well. They now, some of them know them better than me. But that doesn¿t matter because I had that amazing, incredible, extraordinary experience of being out there of being able to make those discoveries when people didn¿t know anything and the excitement of it, seeing new something for the first time not being quite sure that you¿ve really seen it until you see it a few more times, like the tool use thing. And gradually piecing together this incredibly intricate social, social being, the way it lives, incredible, so lucky, and I want to share it.

AC
00:19:51 Do you think those chance s are still available? 00:19:55

JG
00:19:56 Oh yeah, there still are, just on chimpanzees alone, we¿re still learning things at Gambi after nearly 40 years. Everywhere where people go and study chimpanzees in different parts of Africa they find different customs, traditions, cultures, primitive cultures . And there are some animals that have never really been studied in the wild at all. Not really. So, yeah there are plenty of opportunities but it¿s the habitats that are disappearing, so fast.

AC
00:20:32 That¿s fine. What would you like us to mention that would help you.

JG
00:20:44 Well I think, can I say one more thing before we stop on the rest? (Certainly) Sort of following along off the question you asked about what would I most like to be remembered for? And I think because the chimpanzees are so like us, I think that this long term study and other information that¿s come in from different studies, more than anything else has helped to blur the line that we once perceived as so sharp dividing humans on the one hand from the rest of the animal kingdom on the other. And once you are prepared to admit that it¿s not only humans that have personality, capable of rational thought and knowing emotions. Then it gives you a new respect for chimpanzees which maybe you didn¿t have before. But having blurred that line, that sharp line is sharp no longer, we get this new respect for other amazing beings with whom we share the planet and we realize how arrogant we are. We become a little more humble and we better understand our human place in nature.

AC
00:21:51 That¿s very hard to do.

JG
00:22:03 Once you realize these things about how animals really are, it keeps you awake at night thinking about the uses and abuses to which we subject so many of them, so many of them. As a you say, often, without thinking about it but we have to change attitudes if we want to save the world as it is for our great-grandchildren. And attitudes are changing, they really are there¿s a group of people now trying to get a bill of rights for the apes. Well, I¿m not a proponent of animals rights as such, I prefer to talk about human responsibilities. But the fact that there are a lot of people arguing strongly for rights, certain rights that we extend to humans, basic rights, like right to live, right to freedom from torture to the apes, is focusing people¿s attention in a different way on this separation between humans and everything else. (Alex:Thank You) What you could say that is helpful is that we have an Institute, that we have programs in different parts of Africa, caring for orphan chimpanzees whose mothers have been shot, we are working with villagers around Gambi National Park because that¿s the only way to save the last remaining forest, that we need members, we need help.

AC
00:23:32 The Institute is based in the US but is International?

JG
00:23:45 We have our biggest office is in the US until the spring but we also have a Canadian Institute, a UK Institute. WE have an Institute in Tanzania and in Uganda. We have an Institute in Taiwan, and Holland and Germany. I think we are about to have one in mainland China and so in UAE, United Arab Emirates. So we¿re getting these offices that all have the same goals but they never the less are raising money and of course, a lot of the money that¿s raised in say, Taiwan, is going to the Roots and Toots program, educating young people and they do three projects one for animals, one for the environment and one for the human community. And they can be kindergarten or university, so you can raise money locally, for local projects, to make the world in Taiwan or wherever it is a better place. Then in most countries a certain percentage of what is raised in a year, can go to help Africa.

AC
What a journey you¿ve taken.

JG
00:25:07 It¿s amazing. Follow my mothers advice, and how lucky,. If I had been born wealthy and somebody could have snapped their fingers and paid for me to go to Africa, how could I go to a group of inner city kids in Los Angeles and how could I go to a group of children in poverty in children in Tanzania about overcoming problems and following your dreams, I couldn¿t. But I did and I can. It¿s really lucky, I was meant to do this I think.

AC
00:25:42 Could you identify yourself.

JG
00:25:48 I¿m Jane Goodall. Is that enough? Did you want me to say more?

AC
00:25:52 If you walked into a room where no one knew you how would you identify yourself? 00:26:00

JG
00:26:01 Well, it doesn¿t usually happen. But, do you know, I honestly don¿t know, not anymore. I usually just say, I¿m the chimp lady or something silly like that. But because of Natl. Geo. Everybody knows who I am, it¿s amazing actually.

(asides, goodbyes)

00:28:15 First pant hoot

00:28:33 Second pant hoot

Close Title