Tag Archives: Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall Celebrates 55 Years of Pioneering Research with Wild Chimpanzees

Dr. Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots-Kenya scale-up a nationwide youth-focused Conservation Leadership Champions initiative personally launched by Dr. Jane Goodall herself on 14 July, the same date she arrived on Africa on Kenyan soil 58 years ago on 14 July 1957. Her visit to Nairobi is to celebrate her two big milestones: her 55th Anniversary of setting up the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Research Station in Tanzania, and achieving her own 81st Birthday. The RootsAndShoots Conservation Leadership Champions initiative and Dr Jane Goodall's 81st birthday were held in a Gala Event on Monday 13th July at the Serena Nairobi Hotel.

Dr. Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots-Kenya scale-up a nationwide youth-focused Conservation Leadership Champions initiative personally launched by Dr. Jane Goodall herself on 14 July, the same date she arrived on Africa on Kenyan soil 58 years ago on 14 July 1957.

On July 14, 2015 WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu joined Dr.Jane Goodall as she celebrated 55 years of pioneering research with chimpanzees at Gombe National park in Tanzania. Her research study has become the longest running wild chimpanzee study that now generations of new researchers are continuing, taking it even further, into the world of wild chimpanzee conservation. In these last 55 years of the study, more than 165 thousand hours of data have been collected through observations of more than 320 named chimpanzees in the park. These data have yielded more than 430 academic papers and theses and supported 39 graduate students in either doctoral- or masters-level studies, thanks to Jane Goodall’s first adventure into the world of Gombe’s chimpanzees. After 55 years of research with these chimpanzees, researchers in the park have witnessed and recorded entire lifespans of individuals in Gombe. These chimpanzees have been observed from infancy to adulthood and in some cases even old age and death. ‘’These observations have shown us so much about chimpanzees’ complex social lives, personalities and intelligence’’, Jane Goodall said. ‘’From the first discovery of chimpanzees using tools to “fish” for termites, to maternal care behavior, to territoriality, hunting and meat eating, the behaviors that the Gombe chimpanzees have shown researchers are diverse and have shown us how similar they are to humans. Perhaps the most important thing that these observations have taught us though is how much chimpanzees are worth protecting’’ she added. The research, is as vibrant as ever, and now plays an important role in helping people understand chimpanzees and also informing the Jane Goodall Institute’s conservation efforts in Western Tanzania, and even in some ways across the entire chimpanzee range. Jane’s work revolves around inspiring action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, and encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment we all share. Her great hope is that the work at Gombe will continue to contribute both to society understanding of these amazing beings and to the survival of wild chimpanzee populations in Africa. WildlifeDirect would like to congratulate her for this great achievement.

Elephant killings and ivory trade alarm bells

Hello readers, it’s Paula here at 5.30 am and I can’t sleep – alarm bells are ringing in my head about ivory trade and elephant killings.

Here’s the time line

Mid 2007 online ivory sales reported to be booming

June 2007 CITES meeting…Kenya porposes a 20 year moratorium on ivory sales, supported by 21 “like-minded parties” including Mali, Ghana, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Togo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Liberia, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville and Cote d’Ivoire. Ivory sales  get go ahead at CITES with blessing of major conservation organizations

“This African solution to an African problem marks a great step forward for wildlife conservation,” said CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers. “It is good news for the elephant, good news for the people who live alongside them and good news for regional cooperation in Africa.”

“We are looking for real conservation achievement on the ground,” said Tom Milliken, of TRAFFIC, director of TRAFFIC South and East Africa. “Let countries now take this spirit of goodwill and tackle the ivory that is being hemorrhaged illegally from West and Central Africa.”

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, says that at least 20,000 elephants are killed annually for their ivory and the lives of about 100 rangers are lost each year protecting them.  They warn that the auctions would stimulate Asian markets demand smuggling and poaching.

Nobody listens.

The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) analysis reveals that key problem countries for illegal ivory are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Thailand and China.

Nobody takes any notice

October 2008 Namibia opens bidding in controversial ivory auction

Renowned conservationist Richard Leakey expresses concern  and calls it a disservice to conservation

November 2008 Ivory auctions take place in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe 100 tons sold raising $15 million. Price? $150 per kg.  

November 2008 57 people arrested and one ton of illegal ivory seized in a sweep of 50 locations in Kenya, Congo Brazaville, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia.  

January 2009 Ebay bans ivory on online auctions

Three months after auctions, Kenya reports alarming increase in elephant poaching  98 killed in 2008 vs 48 the year before. Two poachers are arrested by KWS. Five elephants killed in February. British MP’s raises alarm over increase in poaching.  

Conservation groups blame demand in China for runaway elephant killings

February 2009  Despite fear of reprisals, Cynthia Moss of the Amboseli Elephant Trust reports a surge in elephant killings and decries the lack of government response.

February 2009 Jane Goodall adds her voice to the role of China in plundering Africa’s resources.

February 2009 Legal auctions were supposed to depress illegal prices right? Wrong! TRAFFIC and WWF report ivory prices in Vietnam are highest in the world at $1500 – $1,863/kg more than ten times the value of legal ivory sold in November 2008! The few remaining Asian elephants are now at grave risk.

March 2008 Vietnam seize over 7 tons of ivory from Tanzania and plans to auction it. Why is nobody questioning this?

China deny’s any link or responsibility for increasing poaching and ivory seizure and publish the Chinese official position piece in local newspapers

Report from Therese Hart in DR Congo reveals that elephants down by 80% in last 50 years.


Why can’t I sleep?

My problem with all this is that CITES is supposed to uphold the precautionary principle. Obviously warnings in 2008 were well placed but there seems to be nobody doing anything about the escalating illegal ivory sales, elephant killings and ivory laundering. Where is the voice of TRAFFIC, WWF, AWF, FFI…all the organizations that were born and or grew out of the elephant crisis in the 1980s? They all supported the ivory sales and none of them seem to be willing to admit it was a MASSIVE STUPID MISTAKE and that measures must be taken now to reverse the impact.


How many more elephants do we have to lose before we have the courage to admit that it was a mistake to renew ivory trade? It is obvious that the flood of legal trade has created a wonderful opportunity for illegal ivory to be laundered, and demand and prices are so high in Vietnam that officials are obviously being corrupted, and countries are taking the law in to their own hands (Vietnam is planning to auction ivory seized from Tanzania!)


CITES will claim that the 9 year moratorium on further auctions will prevent further growth in demand or release of ivory onto markets. The truth that nobody is talking about, is that the moratorium only applies to four countries…I predict that at the next CITES conference we will see ivory sale proposals from a number of African countries including Tanzania, DR Congo, Uganda and maybe even Kenya! These countries are not bound by the moratorium.  


Grrr…it makes me so mad. What do you think? How can we get a message out?


Jane Goodall – it is time to do more to protect apes

I was really pleased to see Dr Jane Goodall sticking her neck out to remind the world that we need to do more to save great apes. In an article published in the Calgary Herald Thursday, October 23, 2008, she says

“In the couple of months since the historic Spanish parliament resolution granting certain rights to great apes, the ensuing debate has taken a wrong turn. As commentators have become mired in the nuances of what rights are appropriate for apes or any other non-human animal, we have lost sight of the central concern — that we continue to use great apes in invasive research, as well as entertainment and advertising, in ways that are unnecessarily harmful and often downright cruel to these amazing creatures.

Like Spain, other countries have recognized this fact. Australia, Austria, Holland, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom have banned or severely restricted invasive research on great apes. While we may not agree on how to get there, there’s a growing consensus around the world that we need to go in this direction.

Over the past century, a wealth of information has been uncovered regarding the behaviour and biology of great apes. We now know with absolute certainty that great apes share many of the same psychological, social, and emotional characteristics as humans.

Taking these findings into account, we can no longer turn a blind eye to their inhumane treatment.

For years great apes have been used in inappropriate and irresponsible ways. Invasive research on great apes continues, despite the suffering it inflicts and the growing abundance of alternative non-animal testing methods. The use of great apes in the entertainment and advertising industry also persists, regardless of the heavy toll it exacts on both captive and wild great apes. What most people do not realize is that performing apes must be taken from their mothers as infants. The premature separation of an infant from its mother can often lead to long-term social and psychological damage. Additionally, entertainment apes have a very short shelf life in the industry. They only remain manageable until they mature, around the age of eight, yet captive great apes can live from 50 to 60 years. Once performing apes are no longer manageable on the entertainment set, they often end up in inappropriate and inhumane living conditions — a roadside zoo, a biomedical research lab, or a breeder compound where the cycle is repeated.

Researchers have found that people who are accustomed to seeing chimpanzees mimicking humans in television programs, advertising and film may be misled into believing that chimpanzees are not endangered.

The misconception that chimpanzees are not endangered negates efforts to raise public awareness and commitments toward their conservation, a consequence that we cannot afford at such a critical juncture. For chimpanzees and all the great apes, once abundant, are now on the verge of extinction. This is due in large measure to the loss of forest habitat from commercial logging, mining and biofuel operations, as well as growing numbers of people in great ape ranges who lack basic needs.

The Spanish parliament’s action serves as a reminder that we must press forward to protect the natural habitats of great apes in Africa and Asia. There is so much to be done.”

UNEP is helping by announcing that 2009 will be the Year of the Gorilla  under the Convention of Migratory species.

At WidlifeDirect we will also draw increasing attention to the conservation needs of our closest relatives – a conservation need that is badly underfunded globally, and where conservationists are working under extraordinarily difficult conditions. We hope you will support our ape projects including the Orangutan Foundation in Indonesia, Lola ya Bonobo bonobo sanctuary in Kinshasa, JACK a chimapanzee rescue center in the DR Congo, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, the Virunga National Park, the Tacugama wildlife sanctuary in Sierra Leone, and Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon where rescued gorillas are being cared for.