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An Interview With Jane Goodall, Primatologist
Lara: Why is 
protecting 
animals so 
important
especially when 
there are so 
many human beings in need of protection?
“We each have the choice, every minute of every day, about what impact we’re going to make on the earth.” —Jane Goodall
grabbed it from 
the young chimp.
The young
chimp’s older
brother witnessed
this incident and,
in defense of the
Dr. Goodall:  Protecting both humans and animals is important. But I strongly believe that we must each focus on pursuing one’s own particular passion. The Roots and Shoots program that we run for young people offers the opportunity to do so. Roots and Shoots is about making positive change happen for our communities, for animals, and for the environment. It aims to motivate young people to learn about pertinent issues facing our local and global communities, and helps them to design, lead and implement their own projects as a means of solving them whether the projects are for humans, animals, or the environment. Young people can choose what they are most passionate about.

Lara:  Do chimpanzees and orangutans do “community service”?
young chimp, attacked the older chimp. Just then, the elderly mother of the older chimp who was being attacked, jumped from above and broke-up the fight to protect her son.   

Lara:  Do chimpanzees indulge in deceitful behavior? Can they put-on an act?

Dr. Goodall:  Chimps are known to withhold information, and, in that sense, deceive. I once hid crates of bananas in a forest. A young chimp spotted the bananas but seeing that his friends were all around him, suppressed his happy sound. Then realizing that he could not keep his gaze off the bananas, he got up and went away and waited until all his friends had left so that he could have the bananas all to himself when he returned. 

Lara:  Is animal testing a necessary evil or should it be stopped immediately?

Dr. Goodall:  A lot of animal testing is unnecessary and there are often alternatives
Dr. Goodall:  I would not call it community service, but, yes, animals do engage in altruism. 

Let me give you 
some examples. Zoo 
chimps are known to 
have risked their 
lives to save 
drowning chimps. 
Then there is the 
chimp who adopted 
an orphan chimp 
despite risking his 
social hierarchy 
among his peers. I 
must also tell you 
about a young chimp 
who was eating a 
fruit. An older chimp 
saw the fruit and 
to it. Thanks to animal 
rights activists, an 
increasing number of 
people recognize that 
animals have feelings 
and are in favor of
using as few animals 
for testing as possible. I 
would like all people to 
recognize that animal 
testing causes suffering 
and that we need to 
find alternatives 
urgently.  Until we find 
alternatives, and if 
animals must be used 
for specific tests, we 
should use as few animals as possible and treat them as well as possible. 

Lara:  What is the main message of your new book “Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink”?
Dr. Goodall:  It is as I say in the introduction to my book: even when our mindless activities have almost entirely destroyed some ecosystem or driven a species to the brink of extinction, we must not give up. Thanks to the resilience of nature and the indomitable human spirit, there is still hope. Hope for animals and their world. And it is our world, too.

Lara:  What general advice do you have for me and my fellow students?
Dr. Goodall:  Question,  question, question, question. Do not take things for granted.  If each and every one of us considers the impact of our choices on animals and the environment, then we will make better choices, and all species will be able to co-exist in harmony. 

Jane Goodall and Roots and Shoots
Jane Goodall with Freud
Photographs courtesy of the Jane Goodall Institute
Jane Goodall