In 1960, Jane Goodall entered Tanzania’s Gombe Stream national park, a 26-year-old curious about the lives of chimpanzees. By the time she left, 17 years and numerous discoveries later, she was regarded as the world’s foremost expert on the animals.
Her discovery that the primates used twigs to hunt for termites, proving humans are not the only species on Earth to use tools, is considered one of the most significant scientific observations of our times.
Goodall broadened her work to focus on wider conservation and animal welfare in 1977, leaving her research in the hands of the Jane Goodall Institute. She founded the Roots & Shoots youth climate education programme, and began travelling the world urging humanity to take better care of our shared home. Since, she has been named a UN Messenger of Peace and was made a Dame in 2004.
At 88, acknowledged as one of the great environmentalists, and more than sixty years on from her first steps into Gombe, even a global pandemic hasn’t stopped Goodall from continuing her pioneering work. She told the Guardian last year: “I’m not going to give in. I’ll die fighting, that’s for sure.”
But how does she stay hopeful? "At the end of the day, I still think we can do it," she says. "Everywhere I go there are young people with shining eyes wanting to tell Dr Jane what they are doing to make the world better. You have to be hopeful."
You may also be interested in some of her inspiring quotations...