Jane Goodall, world expert on chimpanzees and militant ecologist, answered questions from AAPA members on December 1 2023 just before her waxwork figure was unveiled at the Musée Grévin.


Goodall realized early on in her long career as an ethologist—she will be 90 next April—that saving chimpanzees and other wildlife was not possible without protecting the environment in which they live. This meant alleviating the poverty of indigenous populations to enable them to live rather than just survive, with the destruction of forests that entails.


That led Goodall on to launch the idea of community-led conservation in this inter-connected world, asking the local people what they needed for the future rather than imposing what the developed world thought they needed. Not surprisingly food was a top priority.


Representatives of these communities are now addressing international conferences about the importance of harmony between humanity and nature, and young people in Goodall’s international Roots & Shoots youth program are taking up the message enthusiastically.


Perhaps more surprisingly is Goodall’s optimism about the outcome of COP28 on climate change, held from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai. She believes recent dramatic natural disasters will prompt decisionmakers to take the action they have promised to save the planet, but have not fulfilled until now.


Hope is Goodall’s mantra. Humanity has lost its wisdom,Goodall told the packed audience at the museum’s theatre later in the evening. But awareness is rising about the intelligence and emotions of animals. Paintings by Pigcasso, a pig in South Africa, sells for $5,000 and a parrot has an unprompted vocabulary of 1,600 words. At the same time, the world is increasingly conscious of the cruelty of factory farming, the dangers of chemicals and the need to eat healthily.


“If we give up hope” in the possibility of remedying the world’s current “grim state environmentally, politically and socially, we are doomed. (…)  It has never been more important than now to give people hope,” she said. Goodall advises young people to choose wisely the impact they will make each day.  “Everyone has a role to play to make the world better before it is too late.”



Jane Goodall, in front of her figure at the Musée Grévin. She is holding Mr. H, a stuffed monkey that was given to her by blind magician Gary Horn 32 years ago. Horn also sky dives, cross-country skis and paints. He ends his magic show by telling his audience he is blind. His message, according to Goodall, is that nothing is impossible

picture credits: Meredith Mullins