A world famous researcher of chimpanzees visited Des Moines Thursday. Jane Goodall began her research in Africa in 1960 as a 27-year-old. Goodall says that apes of all kinds face danger today as humans log their habitat and take it over for living and farming. But Goodall says she doesn’t like to be an alarmist about the future of the apes — because she says that might make people give up. She says, “I prefer to stress that fact that in so many places there is hope,and then people are much more willing to come and help you to make something that’s possible, you know, definite, reality.” The Great Ape Trust recently opened in Iowa for the study of Bonobo chimpanzees. Goodall was asked what impact it might have on the plight of the apes in the world. She says it depends on how the trust moves forward, but she says it will raise awareness, “And if people can be introduced to, whether it’s bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, or whatever. If they can get to meet them face-to-face and see what amazing beings they are, then they’re much more likely to be concerned with threats to their continued existence in Africa or Asia.” Goodall started a program called “Roots and Shoots” to teach kids about animals. She says the Great Ape Trust can do the same thing by exposing people to the apes. She says it’s just getting to learn as she says one of the bases of “Roots and Shoots” is “only if you understand will you care.” Goodall was in Des Moines for a speech at Drake University.
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