DC at Night

DC at Night

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We Shouldn't Be Monkeying Around with Our Environment

A young Jane Goodall greets an even younger friend
In 1960. a young British woman in her 20's, with no formal college education, but a passion to study wildlife in its natural habitat, arrived in Tanzania for 6 months to study chimpanzees. Today, 53 years later, Jane Goodall is not only considered the world's leading expert on chimpanzee life, but is one of the most recognizable advocates in the world for positive change, not just for animals, but for people and the environment as well.

Yesterday, a documentary about her amazing life and incredible impacts, Jane's Journey, was shown at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as part of D.C.'s annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capitol.
If you are receiving this post by email, click here to view the trailer for Jane's Journey

The Goodall film was part of a twin-bill of features on apes shown at the museum. The second film, Beny, Back to the Wild, portrayed the true, moving story of a young bonobo's return to the wild after he was captured and held in captivity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

To see the trailer for Beny, Back to the Wild click here.

After the showing, Beny's rescuer, Claudine Andre, received a standing ovation when she took the stage to answer questions from the audience about Beny and the other bonobos she has been helping at her Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary.

"Of course, we become very close to the bonobos we rescue and I am sad when we return them, but that is the greatest gift we can give them," Andre said. She added that while initial efforts look positive, it may be "20 years" before it can be established without question that the restoration program is a success.

The DC Environmental Film Festival, which is in its 21st year, is featuring the role of rivers in human survival and their vulnerability in a changing global environment. The festival, which will conclude on March 24. is screening a record 190 films from 50 countries. You can check out the remaining festival schedule by clicking here.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Goodall and her monkey of hope
As soon as I saw the schedule, I knew we would be seeing the 2 films today at the National History Museum. My wife loves apes and monkeys. In fact, at one point, our only son actually had 2 "brothers," as we were supporting a monkey at the local South Jersey zoo in the community where we were living and a chimpanzee at the Jane Goodall Institute's chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya. Before we retired and moved to Crystal City, Judy also had a huge collection of stuffed moneys and apes. The Jane's Journey film revealed  that Goodall also has stuffed monkeys, one of which her father gave her as a child and another that she has been carrying with her everywhere for more than a decade during her 300 days of travel a year. That monkey, a gift from a blind magician, has become a visible symbol of hope Goodall believes people need as they consider today's environmental and wildlife conditions.

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