On Monday morning, we went to the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan to talk to Dr. Jane Goodall about the movie “Penguins” and her incredible career as a primatologist and an anthropologist. Dr. Jane is the first-ever ambassador for Disneynature films and was in the theater with us Sunday to see the advance screening of the movie.
As most people know, she has dedicated her life to researching and finding out all she can about chimpanzees and after talking with her, we know that she would do almost anything to help animals. Her dedication is amazing. She runs the Roots & Shoots program (rootsandshoots.org), which is a program that teaches and encourages kids to become leaders and make the world a better place. To do this, Dr. Jane says, she works about 300 days a year.
One of our first questions was to find out how she got involved with the movie “Penguins.” Dr. Jane told us that she helps with all the Disneynature films and because of that, she is helping spread the word about this film, too.
We asked her which environment she liked more, the arctic or the jungle. We were not surprised when she said the jungle. She said the arctic is just too cold for her, although she added that it gets really hot in the jungle.
We wanted to know if she found any similarities between penguins and chimpanzees. She told us that there are none. She did tell us that they are fun and very interesting animals.
We were curious about the start of her career. We wanted to know if anyone supported her. Dr. Jane told us that her mom was there for her when others were laughing at her and her dream to go to Africa. Her mom told her her to work really hard and take advantage of all opportunities and never give up. In fact, her mom was so supportive that she even went to Africa with Dr. Jane when she started out.
We wanted to know why she fell in love with chimps. She told us that it was difficult at first because they would always run away from her when she approached them. She did find out through all her work that there are nice chimps and nasty ones.
We asked her if she was nervous the first time she was out in the open in Africa. She said quite strongly: No! It was what she dreamed about ever since she was our age. It was like going home.
We know that Jane Goodall likes all animals, but we wanted to know what other animals she liked working with. She told us that she likes working with hyenas and was with them for about six months and if she can, she will do it again.
We asked Dr. Jane about her hard work raising money so that chimpanzees can stay in their habitats. Dr. Jane told us that it is now her life’s work. She told us that chimps live in 21 African countries and that they have disappeared already from five. For us to save chimps, we have to save the forests. She told us that some people work very hard to cut the forests down, so when they do manage to save forests, it feels good.
We asked what message she wanted to send to future generations. She said she wanted us to know that every day we need to make an impact on the planet. And if we start today, we can start moving toward a better world.