On April 3, Jane Goodall turns 80. But that milestone seems to be just a number for the renowned primatologist and indefatigable conservation pioneer who still travels 300 days a year to promote the welfare of the planet’s great apes and other threatened species and habitats.
Goodall ventured to Africa for the first time in 1960, when she was just 26. In the Gombe Stream region of what is now Tanzania, she began researching wild chimpanzees, equipped with only a pair of binoculars and a notebook. In the half-century since, her work has grown to encompass global conservation education and countless initiatives on behalf of the world’s endangered great apes.
The Jane Goodall Institute, which she founded in 1977, is hosting an online “Google Hangout” birthday party for her. Guests will be able to share wishes, ask questions or otherwise participate in the festivities by posting on Google+, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #80yearsofJane.
Other than this virtual celebration, Jane prefers that her landmark birthday not be observed with parties or presents, but with commitments to help advance the mission of the institute and its programs. The institute’s website has plenty of ideas for how you can participate, from dedicating a community-based Roots & Shoots project to Jane, to giving a monetary gift that will enhance the capacity of the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo.
The center, originally opened as a sanctuary for 30 chimps, now houses 160, most of which were rescued from the illegal exotic pet trade and commercial bush meat trade. Sixty more chimps are waiting to be released onto the island sanctuary site, and it is Jane’s wish that enough funds will be raised to enable that to happen by the end of 2014.
In honor of Jane’s 80th birthday, the institute seeks to raise $80,000 online this year to support great ape conservation. You can contribute to achieving that goal here.
Please join all of us here at Natural Habitat Adventures in wishing Jane Goodall a very happy 80th birthday!
With warm admiration,
Want to see Africa’s wondrous primates for yourself? Nat Hab’s Great Uganda Gorilla Safari and Ultimate Gorilla Photo Safari offer chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest and multiple visits with mountain gorillas in the rainforest highlands of central Africa!