Jane Goodall's Chimpanzees Win Prizes


Images from Jane Goodall Institute

Jane Goodall has been around forever. Back in 1957 she was studying the habits of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, under the tutorship of Sir Louis Leakey, the famous archaeologist and paleontologist. She never left...and in 1977 she set up her own institute, the Jane Goodall Institute which is still going strong, with her at the head. Its mission is protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It also is widely recognized for establishing conservation and development programs in Africa.

In recognition of the Institute's work, they have now received 2 grants and are in the money. One is from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand programmes to help local people become more involved in the conservation work, thus improving their lives and the chimp's as well. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tanzania has also given grant money to work on the sale of carbon credits with local community people.

Dr. Goodall recognized that you cannot separate the people from the animals. You have to work with the local people to develop conservation projects. The community-centered conservation projects focused on the area around Gombe National Park and another area to the south. There they worked with villagers to create conservation friendly ways of farming, cooking and other practices. These would support the chimp's and their habitats, rather than destroy them.

As a result of this invaluable work, more than 87,000 hectares of village forestlands have been placed under protection by villagers, sustainable agricultural practices have been adopted, coffee farmers are making more money from a co-operative and young people are being trained in environmental education.

This four year grant will enable the Institute to expand their work dramatically. They will address the root causes driving the loss of biodiversity in the region. They will be able to focus on improving forest management; and creating money-making opportunities that are compatible with conservation. They will also be able to expand their promotion of sustainable agricultural practices and expand AIDS awareness and education. In addition, the new programmes will involve educating local farmers about climate change.

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tanzania has also given a grant to the Institute to "provide local community-based organizations and district governments with the training, equipment and other materials needed to protect their forestland and--ultimately-- benefit from income earned through the sale of carbon credits through the financing mechanism known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)." REDD was a hot topic at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen because there was a concern that traditional farmers wouldn't benefit. But this grant will show how rural communities can benefit as well. The project will conserve approximately 70,000 hectares of pristine forests and woodlands found in one of the last large expanses of intact forest in Tanzania and communities will be eligible to earn credits for the carbon stored in their protected forest areas.

All in all, a good 2010 for Jane and the chimp's and the local people.

Tags: Communities | Conservation | Ecology | Endangered Species