• Diana Littlejohns

Jane Goodall’s 60th year Anniversary of Gombe, Tanzania

On this date sixty years ago the world-renowned Anthropologist and Primatologist, Jane Goodall, first set foot into Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to commence her scientific studies into chimpanzees. This is why this date marks World Chimpanzee Day every year and is the reason why I sketched this drawing and my daughter coloured it in, to celebrate.

Jane Goodall was a pioneer in her research and was the first person to establish that chimpanzees use and make tools to fish out termites from termite mounds for food, as well as using larger rocks to crack open nuts. Clever stuff, right. In this drawing (photo by National Geographic creative/Hugo Van Lawick), Jane is grooming David Greybeard, the first chimpanzee to lose fear of her after four months of her observing them, whilst he calmly eats some bananas from their camp.

Did you know that as well as sharing 98.5% DNA with chimpanzees, like us they can also be loving and affectionate (alright, not all humans are that way inclined but I hope some of the ones you know are!) and that they have a real sense of humour? The fact that they play and make each other laugh deliberately for joy is one of the favourite facts I’ve learned from Dr Jane’s research.

So today, is a good day to remember how important our chimpanzee cousins are and that they are endangered due to human impact, along with the outstanding work Jane Goodall has done over the last six decades in Gombe, not just for chimp conservation, but for conservation of planet earth as a whole.

For more info, you might like to read https://www.janegoodall.org.uk/jane-goodall/gombe-60