In July 1960 Goodall left her home in London with no scientific education (not even an undergraduate degree) to begin what would become a groundbreaking 50-year study of the chimpanzees in what is now Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Her unconventional thinking led her to make discoveries that would challenge long-standing beliefs about the differences between chimps and humans. Through long days hiking through the forest, she observed that chimps actually did use tools, eat meat, have familial bonds, and wage wars — behaviors considered unique to humans.
Goodall also began to see the devastating affect deforestation was having in Gombe and across Africa, so she shifted her focus and redefined traditional conservation to include the role people play in the well-being of animals and habitat.
Today Goodall spends 300 days a year on the road on a perpetual lecture tour to inspire action on behalf of endangered species and encourage people to do their part to make the world a better place for other people, animals, and the environment. Her groundbreaking work led the way for future leading women primatologists.”It’s not really possible to think about conservation unless you bring the people into the picture,” says Goodall. “It’s where they live after all.”Back to top