But the ethologist was criticised in the scientific community for her unorthodox field research (naming the chimpanzees she studied instead of numbering them, for example), and for promoting the then-radical notion that chimpanzees have emotions, minds and personalities. Undeterred, Dr Goodall continued her research, ultimately redefining our understanding of the relationship between humans and animals.
“People are beginning to realise we need a different relationship with the natural world.”
Dr Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977 to support further research in Gombe and the protection of chimpanzees in their habitats. But a 1986 conference proved a turning point for her. There to present a paper on the behaviour of chimpanzees, Dr Goodall was so shocked to learn about the rate of deforestation occurring in Africa that she was moved to scale up her conservation efforts.
“I went to that conference as a scientist planning to carry on with that wonderful life and I left as an activist,” she says.