CNN’s ‘Inside Africa’ explores the impact and evolution of Jane Goodall’s conservation career in Africa
This week’s ‘Inside Africa’ on CNN International focuses on Jane Goodall, a name synonymous with the protection of some of Africa’s most beloved species and conservation science on the continent.
Since 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute has engaged with local communities around the world, calling on them to protect animals and land. ‘Inside Africa’ meets Goodall and explores the evolution of her conservation work which began in Tanzania.
Goodall explains to CNN why she embarked on a path to improve the balance between people and the natural world: “I care passionately about the environment. I care passionately about animals but I also care passionately about all the children being born into the world today…. and I have to fight for what I love which is the wilderness, the forest, the wild animals living out in the forest but our own future generations as well.”
‘Inside Africa’ learns that Goodall’s work in Tanzania first began in Gombe National Park in 1960. With no scientific training or credentials, Goodall travelled to the area with one aim – to study chimpanzees.
Today, the work she began with chimpanzees in Gombe is ongoing and is now the longest study of any wild animal in the world. Goodall outlines some of her experiences from the sixties to ‘Inside Africa’: “In 1960, the world knew nothing about chimpanzees in the wild at all. When I first began studying the chimpanzees, there was nobody to tell me how to do it, so I just went about it by trying to find them and getting them used to me.”
Goodall’s studies not only led to a place at Cambridge University to study Ethology but also to the establishment of the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, which allowed Goodall to continue her pioneering work outside the boundaries of Gombe.
With an emphasis on conservation, the Jane Goodall Institute pursues a holistic approach, working closely with local communities to find a balance between people, the landscape and animals.
This community-centered approach to conservation addresses the most pressing issues that the locals face first, such as water, health and education. ‘Inside Africa’ learns that by doing so, the Institute gain their trust and can then work with those communities to protect and preserve the environment. It’s a model that has now been copied with much success across the world.
Emmanuel Mtiti, who has worked for the Jane Goodall Institute for over 20 years, explains to CNN that they pursued this approach, despite scepticism: “We were once told that community-centered conservation has never worked anywhere in the world… But we were persistent, we believed in what we did, we believed in our communities. So we kept on going and we changed our approaches, we changed our methodology until here we are. We’re now seeing changes.”
As their conservation efforts have evolved, ‘Inside Africa’ witnesses how the Institute is now utilising the most modern technologies such as drones and 360° cameras to protect the wildlife and forests in Tanzania and beyond. Village Forest Monitors now use technologies like these to gather information on the status of their local forests – where locals have destroyed parts and where there’s been growth.
Many of these technical innovations are causing a revolution in the world of conservation, as Dr Lilian Pintea explains to ‘Inside Africa’ at a conference held at Cambridge University: “When Jane went into Gombe, her main tools were an old binocular and a notepad and pen. Now, we can see every tree from space… We try to reach decision makers – not only their minds through data and statistics but we have to reach to their hearts and telling a story and having the right tools to visualise, it’s essential.”
Although conservation may have changed dramatically since 1960, CNN hears how Goodall has remained steadfast in her message, as she tells ‘Inside Africa’: “I think one of the most important things for people to understand is – don’t feel helpless when you look at all the problems in the world. Realise that if you think about the consequences of the small choices you make each day – what you buy, what you eat, what you wear, where did it come from… In the end, it’s hundreds of millions of people making small choices that are the right choices, that leads us to a new kind of world.”
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