I have always been a huge admirer of the inspirational primatologist that is Dr Jane Goodall. And over the years, I have been lucky enough to meet her on several occasions after being invited to her annual Roots & Shoots ceremonies in London – one of which I was honoured with the role of presenting the prizes alongside her on stage.
So when I discovered that National Geographic had made a documentary about her using footage from her first expeditions to Gombe in Africa during the 1960s, I couldn’t have been more excited to watch it.
In it, she talks about what she saw when she looked into a chimpanzees eyes. I remember the first time I truly looked into a chimpanzees eyes. It was at the UK’s primate sanctuary, called Monkey World in Dorset. It was the most incredible experience – watching him stare back at me, analysing every part of what he saw. But I felt this deep sadness in my heart. I felt like I could burst into tears at the thought of what humans are doing to our unique planet; harming these beautiful and intelligent animals by destroying the parts of the forest that they call home.
Jane made such revolutionary discoveries during her time in Africa. To think that she was the first human to have been truly accepted by a group of wild chimpanzees, the likes of whom most probably would have never encountered a human before, was remarkable. Seeing all of the newspaper clippings, from outlets breaking her wonderful story, made me think ” wow, what a time it must have been – for her, for women, for the whole world.”
The story of Flo and Flint, albeit incredibly sad, is a prime example that animals are sentient beings. They have feelings. They care and love one another just like we humans do, and equally have the capacity to grieve for family losses.
Watching the documentary, it was incredible to see how close she became with all the animals – not just the chimpanzees. Her passion for raising awareness of the threats chimpanzees are facing in the wild is clearer than clear. Since October 1986, she hasn’t spent more than three consecutive weeks in any one place. Applauding her for her hard work and dedication would be a severe understatement.
She is an inspiration. She is a role model. She is the real-life Dr Dolittle.
These incredible creatures can only be found in two parts of Africa – the rainy, cold mountain forests of Virunga Volcanoes and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Much of their habitat has been lost to make way for farms and homes. Weighing up to 180kg, these mighty mammals are rarely poached by humans but this doesn’t mean that they don’t get caught up in traps and snares, that have been set up to catch other animals such as buffalo or antelope. Since they’re so similar to us, they can also catch human illnesses – even the common cold.
It’s not all bad news however as since 2010, these creatures have experienced an increase of 25%. This is thanks to intensive conservation work, which focusses on helping locals and gorillas live along side one another in harmony. For example, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, along with WWF, helped reduce the locals need to enter into the gorilla’s habitats along with promoting eco-tourism projects to help these locals earn a living from gorilla conservation. The most recent count revealed that there are more than 600 individuals living in the wild.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a tricky prompt… ten I could have managed but 20 facts just about me?! Well, here goes:
I’m addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race and love pretty much all of the queens that have walked through the ‘You Better Werk’ room doors.
My favourite colour is duck egg blue.
I own more pairs of socks than I care to admit.
I’m a bit of a Netflix addict – entire mornings can disappear if I’m not careful.
I love singing and dancing.
When I’m at home, I’m often found in pyjama’s… I mean what’s the point in wearing your outdoor clothes, indoors?!
I began and completed WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge in 2014.
People find it odd that I don’t drink tea or coffee…
If money was no object, I’d go to see a West End theatre show every single week.
I have a very close family, which means the world to me, and am even related to Howard Carter, the guy who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.
My Great Nan reached 104 and a half years young… the half is very important at that age.
I’m obsessed with Mi backpacks. So far, I’ve got a peacock feather one, a gumball one, a galaxy print one, a duck egg blue polka dot backpack and one with elephants all over it.
I’m commonly found wearing Converse hi-tops… wearing heels is for special occasions.
For RuPaul’s BOTS, I temporarily dyed my hair blue. I loved it so much that I’m planning to dye it permanently blue – hopefully two tone, using cobalt and duck egg blue (of course!)
Through my last job, I was sent on press trips to Iceland (Ice Age 4: Continental Drift), Norway (How To Train Your Dragon 2) and Slovenia (Postojna Cave), interviewed a robotic cockatoo (Nigel from Rio 2, with actor Jemaine Clement in another room) and even photographed the stars of TV on the red carpet at the National Television Awards.
I have a BA (Hons) in Human Resource Management.
I love afternoon tea… especially quirky ones such a Spanish or Thai themed.
Working in children’s media means that I get to see many of the new films before they hit the cinemas and I’m a big kid who loves everything Disney, so I end up enjoying every single screening… sometimes even more than the kids that are actually there.
I love unicorns, rainbows and mermaids. I even wanted to be a mermaid growing up… still do!
Primates are my favourite animals (well, and dolphins and marine life of course), but I’ve been lucky enough to meet the famous Primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall three times and even helped her present awards.