A stuffed monkey says it all

Meet Jane Goodall's 'banana-eating' companion

Last updated 05:00 23/06/2014
HOPE FOR FUTURE: Dame Jane Goodall talks to 1200 secondary students at Kristin School.

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World-renowned chimpanzee expert Dame Jane Goodall travels the world with a stuffed "banana-eating" monkey.

Goodall was given the toy 26 years ago by United States Marine Gary Haun, who had lost his eyesight and thought the animal was a chimp.

"He said, ‘Things may go wrong in your world [but] never give up'."

It's a message she has taken to heart, and even at the age of 80 she is still not giving up.

Goodall is on a speaking tour, appearing at Wellington's Michael Fowler Centre yesterday, and in Auckland's Aotea Centre at 7pm tonight, before heading to Nepal.

She is a vocal opponent of the loss of chimpanzee habitats as well as a supporter of conservation work and animal welfare issues.

"The workload had become exhausting. "There's so much to do, we are destroying our planet. I care about the forests very passionately . . . The older I get the less time I have."

But she was optimistic there was time to stop humans destroying the forests, which was why she continued to travel the world, spreading the word, including telling people about her Roots & Shoots organisation, a youth-led programme that tries to tackle the world's big problems.

Since being set up in the early 1990s, it has 150,000 groups around the world in 136 countries.

Goodall started working with chimpanzees more than 50 years ago, watching them in their environment in the Gombe Stream Game Reserve in what is now Tanzania.

While there, she developed a close bond with a group of chimpanzees and was, to an extent, welcomed into their society. She broke new ground by showing evidence that chimpanzees used tools and ate meat.

The chimpanzee observation project she set up is now the world's longest-running continuous wildlife project.

Others now run the project, with her speaking commitments meaning she gets back to see the Gombe chimps about twice a year.

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- The Dominion Post


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