World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall has weighed in to Australia’s federal election campaign, calling on the nation and its leaders to take greater action on climate change.
Primatologist Jane Goodall calls on Australia’s leaders to take greater action on climate change
Dr Goodall told ABC News she was seeing the impact of climate change everywhere she travelled around the world and there was no time for complacency.
“Any leader, any individual has to realise that climate change isn’t something that might affect their country, it’s actually affecting everywhere around the world,” she said.
“A lot of them do nothing because they don’t know what to do, they feel helpless.
“Sea levels are rising, people have had to leave their island homes … hurricanes are getting more frequent and disastrous and the same with flooding and drought.
“We just have to do something about fossil fuel emissions and the methane from breeding cattle.”
Dr Goodall has dedicated her life to studying chimpanzees and raising awareness about the threats they face, with numbers in the wild dwindling.
There are believed to be about 250,000 chimpanzees left in the wild, compared to about 2 million just 20 years ago, but Dr Goodall said climate change had not yet had an impact on chimpanzees.
“We definitely have changing weather patterns and that’s bound to have an affect on the fruiting of various foods that they eat,” she said.
“But the forest is one of the last places we’ll see the effects of climate change.”
Baby chimpanzee due in September
Dr Goodall spent Wednesday at Adelaide’s Monarto Zoo, where she announced a baby chimpanzee was due in September.
She praised the work of local keepers and zoos around the world who raise awareness about chimpanzees, but she warned it would not help chimpanzees in the wild.
“It’s almost impossible to release these chimpanzees back into the wild because one of the reasons for the decline is the destruction of their habitat,” she said.
“There’s hardly enough habitat left for the chimpanzees who are there.
“These remaining chimps are spread through 21 nations and many of them are in small fragmented patches of forest and so their hope for long-term survival is virtually nil.”
Monarto Zoo primate keeper Laura Hanley said the baby news had given keepers hope for the future of their chimpanzees.
“An infant being born gives us hope for our chimpanzee troupe and their future but also hope for the future of chimpanzees,” she said.
“We did recently have a female born, so she’s three months old and we’re very lucky that Jane Goodall actually named that infant for us. She named her Hope, which is incredibly fitting.”