Some time ago Dr Jane Goodall was interviewed by Time Magazine for their '10 Questions with' section.
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false. The activity is suitable for Intermediate 2 and Advanced students.
1 Dr Jane Goodall feels the same empathy for people as for chimpanzees.
2 Chimpanzees are brutal animals that sometimes show compassion and love.
3 Dr Jane Goodall had stopped following the first chimpanzee she talks about.
4 The second chimpanzee, Flo, didn't trust Dr Goodall with her baby.
5 Dr Goodall feels that her feelings help her in her research.
6 Dr Goodall objects to chimps being kept as pets.
7 In general, an animal doesn't destroy the environment it lives in.
8 In Dr Goodall's opinion, money is the root of all evil.
I’m Andrea Sachs, from Time Magazine. We’re here today with Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist, who’s known worldwide for her studies of chimpanzees in the Gombe Reserve in Tanzania. Dr Goodall has written a wonderful new book, Hope for Animals in their World: How Endangered Species are Being Rescued from the Brink. Dr Goodall, nice to see you.
Good to see you.
Kantesh Guttal in Pune, India, asks, how can you be so empathetic with the chimps?
I think one is either an empathetic person or not. Some people are very non-caring to other people and some people just seem to care about animals and not people. Unfortunately, I realized learning from the chimpanzees how we are a part of the Animal Kingdom. Chimpanzees teach us that there isn’t a sharp line dividing us. And so the kind of empathy that I feel for people is the kind of empathy that I feel for chimpanzees. Okay. Do they have a dark and brutal side to their nature? Yes, so are people, and it comes out in the most unexpected situations. But by and large, chimpanzees show far more frequently tendencies of compassion and empathy and love than violence and brutality.
Which do you like better, chimps or humans?
Chimps are so like us that I like some chimpanzees better than some humans and some humans much better than some chimpanzees. There’s no question.
Hyeok Kim in Seoul, Korea, asked, What was the most touching that… in your time with the chimps? Is there a particular…?
Well, there are two. One was when I was following the first chimp to lose his fear, following him through the forest in the very early days. And he suddenly veered through a very tingly, thorny clump of vegetation, I was crawling after him and, you know, getting thorns and like catching my clothes and everything. So, I gave up. I thought that he had disappeared, but when I got through, he was sitting there waiting until I sat near him. And there was a ripe red palm nut on the ground, picked it up because chimps love them, handed out towards them. He turned his face away, so I put my hand closer and he turned, he looked directly in my eyes. He reached out, he took the nut. He didn’t want it. He dropped it, but he very gently squeezed my hand, which is how chimpanzees reassure each other. So, that was like a communication that probably for us predates words. And the other one was when Flo, who also lost her fear quite early on, she has this little infant who’s just learning to walk, he’s about five months old, and she trusts me so much that when he totters towards me and reaches out she doesn’t snatch him away like he used to, but she keeps a hand protectively around him and she lets him reach out to touch my nose, and this was just so magic.
Specialist McKinzie Baker at Camp Taji in Iraq asked, how do you work with so many animals and not get overly attached to them?
Well, I’ve always been very attached to the animals I work with. And although a scientist is supposed to be subjective and lack in empathy, I’ve always felt this is wrong. Fortunately, there’s a growing number of other scientists who feel the same and it’s the empathy that you feel with an animal, not a subject but an animal, a living individual being that really helps you understand. The science comes in when you say, okay I think, because I feel this empathy so that behaviour must mean something. And then you can use your scientific training to ask the questions and find out if your intuition is correct.
What’s your position on people who have chimps as pets given the implications for violence such as the woman in Connecticut whose chimpanzee attacked her neighbour.
It’s absolutely wrong to have a chimpanzee as a pet or any of the primates for that matter, and most other exotic species, too. Chimpanzees, yeah, when they are little they’re cute and people have them as surrogate children, but by the time they reach early adolescence, they already are as strong as a human and chimpanzees are completely unpredictable. You cannot predict what will trigger a sudden anger or rage. And so, we’re… actually the Jane Goodall Institute is fighting very hard for legislation that will prohibit people owning other non-human primates as pets. Very rare can they give them a good life. Why should we sell our closest living relatives as a pet. It’s not a pet. It’s an individual. It has its own way of living and it’s not suited to live in our houses.
Now, Chet Kim in Birmingham, Michigan asks, you’ve chosen to spend more time with animals, yet you have hoped for humanity. What do you see in animals you don’t see in us?
Well, that’s a kind of loaded question, isn’t it? Animals, by and large, are not destroying their environment, although some of them would if they could, but they’ve developed a natural balance and typically when an animal species starts overpopulating an area something happens, as it used to with humans, to bring that down, to be in balance with the natural world. But now, because of modern medicine, human populations are spiralling, mushrooming out of control. So, the question I always ask is how does this most intellectual species that’s ever walked the planet, how is it that we’re destroying our only home, and I think that there’s a disconnect between the clever brain and the site of love and compassion, the human heart. And what we have to do is to link the heart with the brain again. And let us move forward, understanding that this life is about a lot more than just making money and we should not be living for money. We need money to live. So, that’s why I’m working so hard with youth, to create a critical massive young people with his philosophy. That’s my hope for the future.
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