Another wonderful year at Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards

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Roger Marks Photography

Every year, I am honoured to be invited back to Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards. Last month, I flew back from Germany earlier than planned to attend the ceremony at London’s  Continue reading

Spotlight: Claws Out founder, Beth Jennings, reveals the truth behind cub petting

Cubs

Credit: Beth Jennings

I was made aware of Beth’s story when in discussion with a fellow guest at this year’s Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards in London last week. From the brief story I heard, I knew I had to find out more about her eye-opening campaign and short film on the cub petting industry, so got in touch with Beth myself. Here’s what she had to say…

C: How would you describe Claws Out?

B: Claws Out began as an awareness blog and soon snowballed into a full time role as a Campaign Manager for IAPWA (International Aid for the Protection & Welfare of Animals). The entire entity stemmed from my experience as a volunteer in 2015, hand rearing lion cubs after being led to believe that I was contributing towards conservation. It’s now the charity’s only lion welfare campaign, raising awareness about the plight of lions in South Africa Continue reading

Jane: My review

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.

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R&S 2013

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.”
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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.

2/31 Wait… you didn’t know?!

2. 20 facts about you

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:

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My Queen… Amen!

  1. 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.
  2. My favourite colour is duck egg blue.
  3. I own more pairs of socks than I care to admit.
  4. I’m a bit of a Netflix addict – entire mornings can disappear if I’m not careful.
  5. I love singing and dancing.
  6. When I’m at home, I’m often found in pyjama’s… I mean what’s the point in wearing your outdoor clothes, indoors?!
  7. I began and completed WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge in 2014.
  8. People find it odd that I don’t drink tea or coffee…
  9. If money was no object, I’d go to see a West End theatre show every single week.
  10. 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.
  11. My Great Nan reached 104 and a half years young… the half is very important at that age.
  12. 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.
  13. I’m commonly found wearing Converse hi-tops… wearing heels is for special occasions.
  14. 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!)
  15. 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.
  16. I have a BA (Hons) in Human Resource Management.
  17. I love afternoon tea… especially quirky ones such a Spanish or Thai themed.
  18. 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.
  19. I love unicorns, rainbows and mermaids. I even wanted to be a mermaid growing up… still do!
  20. 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.
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At the most recent Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots Awards with my flatmate, Féaron, where we got to meet Dr Jane’s beloved Mr. H, which travels around the world with her.

Kick it

#3: What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?

I don’t actually have a physical, written down bucket list (although maybe it should be a 2014 resolution?)… it’s more along the lines of several mental post-it notes of what I want to achieve in my lifetime! My main one though is to travel to Uganda and Borneo to be face-to-face with Mountain Gorillas and Orangutans, since for as long as I can remember, I’ve had an extreme fascination with primates. I have visited Monkey World in Dorset, on several occasions (as they are a rescue centre, not a zoo!) and to show my support I have adopted Bart the chimp, donated unwanted sheets and towels as well as purchasing a paving brick for the ‘Walk of Thanks’ (which can be found near the mischievous Capuchin Monkeys!). I also got the chance to meet a hero of mine in December last year, as mentioned in previous blog posts, in assistanting Dr Jane Goodall on stage at her Roots & Shoots Awards Ceremony – I must admit, I was completely awestruck! 

… I’ll keep you updated if I do ever make a physical bucket list!