The Society began supporting Jane Goodall in 1961. Her discoveries were startling: She had seen chimpanzees—assumed to be vegetarians—stalk, kill, and eat other animals. She had watched them strip the leaves from twigs, insert the sticks into termite mounds, and fish out delectable snacks. This meant chimps were not only using tools, but fashioning them as well, a trait previously considered exclusively human.
Jane is determined to use just about every minute she has working to save chimpanzees and to empower people young and old to do what they can for a better world. The Jane Goodall Institute is helping to mentor a new generation of chimp researchers. She travels to Gombe at least twice a year to “recharge her batteries” and see what her chimpanzees are up to. “When I’m on my own at Gombe now, I can easily recapture how I felt at 26, when all the world was new,” she says. “There’s still a spiritual power there. I can breathe it in.”
Over the course of 50 years Jane has witnessed the lives of three generations of chimpanzees. The dream that she set in motion lives on, and her partnership with National Geographic continues.