I assume you already know of my obession with animals and Africa, and in case you didn’t, now you do -or at least you will after today’s post-.
Ever since I discovered how beneficial -for both my wallet and my reading- ordering second hand books from Amazon is, packages keep showing up at my doorstep, filling me with a feeling of content and satisfaction everytime I tear the wrapping apart! So if you haven’t guessed already, I am about to show you my recent Amazon book haul, which I am very proud of.
Jane Goodall is one of the few people I trully admire and look up to, as she is the first person to study the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Having been passionate about animals all of her life, 23-year-old Jane, was recruited by the famous paleoanthropologist and archaelogist Louis Leaky to do extensive studies on chimpanzee behaviour. After having raised funds for the expedition, Leaky sent Jane to Gombe in Kigoma, Tanzania where she started her 55-year study of wild chimpanzees. In 1962, Goodall obtained a PhD degree in Ethology from the University Of Cambridge, being the eighth person to be allowed to study for a PhD without having a BA or a BSc. Nowadays she gives lectures to Universities across the world and she is mainly involved in activism and Wildlife Conservation.
I am currently reading “In the shadow of man” which is about how it all began and I am so jealous but in the same time so blown away by the fact that a girl my age left all comforts of modern -or in that case, the fifties’ – civilization to live among wild chimps in the Tanzanian forests. Her writing is lucid and I learn a ton of her experience with those previously unknown primates. Also I love the dedication on the first page.
“Through a window” is to be read next as a sequel.
Dian Fossey was also a pioneer in primate behaviour studies. A few years after Goodall’s arrival in Gombe, Fossey took a trip in Africa where she met Louis Leaky, who was at that time searching for the perfect candidate to study the gorillas. His search ended as soon as he realised Fossey was the one who would live up to his expectations and in 1967 she was able to start her studies in the Congo. Due to political turbulences in Congo, she was relocated to Rwanda, where she remained for the rest of her studies. She was also known for her important anti-poacher activity and gorilla habitat conservation efforts. On December 27, 1985 she was found murdered in her cabin. The last entry in her diary read:
“When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future”.
She was buried next to Digit, one of her favourite gorillas who was killed by poachers.
“Gorillas in the mist” is the book I carry in my bag nowadays and I can tell it overflows with Fossey’s love and passion for the gorillas. Her bravery while opposing to poachers was remarkable and her willing to preserve the natural habitat of her beloved gorillas seemed to defy everything. In case you haven’t watched “Gorillas in the mist” starring Sigourney Weaver, I strongly suggest that you do! I also got “No one loved gorillas more” which is a collection of Fossey’s letters combined with amazing photographs of her life in Rwanda.
Galdikas was the third of the Trimates –a name chosen from Leaky for Goodall, Fossey and Galdikas who where the first to study primate behaviour in the wild-. Having a BA in psychology and zoology, she contacted Leaky to express her interest in the study of urangutans and in 1971, at the age of 25, Galdikas arrived in Borneo, South-East Asia, where she began her 30-year study on those primates who scientist knew very little about. She is also a conservationist and she is focused on rehabilitation of many orphaned urangutans, many of them coming from illegal pet trade.
“Primates” by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks is a genuine treasure for anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of the Trimates! So simple, yet funny and delightful, this graphic novel will give you a taste of what Goodall’s, Fossey’s and Galdikas’s routine while studying, was all about!
Till next time,