News & Events
Statement from Jane Goodall Regarding the Welfare Status of the Vilab II Sanctuary's 66 Chimpanzees in Liberia and the New York Blood Center's Cessation of Support for their Care
Delivered: July 21, 2015 New York Blood Center Headquarters New York, NY
I am extremely disappointed to learn that the New York Blood Center has ignored requests by dozens of animal protection groups and thousands of individuals to renew their support for the 66 chimpanzees they have abandoned at the Vilab II sanctuary in Liberia. Instead, in a recent statement, they deny all responsibility for the care of these former research chimpanzees, stating that they are the owned by the Liberian government. This seems irrelevant since NYBC was responsible for funding the acquisition of these chimpanzees, some of whom were taken from the wild after the killing of their mothers. NYBC then profited from their use in their vaccine research. Instead of accepting responsibility for these chimpanzees, NYBC claims that their support has always been voluntary and that they have no obligation to them. Rather than enter into a serious dialogue with the wide and committed chimpanzee welfare and conservation community to find a long term solution for their care, NYBC decided to cut off all funding.
Chimpanzees are an incredibly intelligent, social species and they are endangered across their entire range in Africa. How ironic that while worldwide support for ending the exploitation of chimpanzees in research and other forms of human gain, as well as efforts to protect their populations in the wild are increasing, New York Blood Center has simply cast these poor individuals aside.
Since I published an open letter to New York Blood Center on May 29, the organization has taken no new measures to ensure the survival of these chimpanzees who live trapped on islands without any source of fresh water or food. Thus they are forced to rely on human caretakers to provide for their basic needs. When this drastic situation became known, The Humane Society of the United States, supported by a coalition of more than 30 animal protection groups and individuals, including the Jane Goodall Institute, stepped in to provide care for the abandoned chimpanzees who would otherwise, almost certainly, have died of dehydration and starvation after NYBC ceased funding in March.
Although this coalition has raised temporary funds to address the immediate crisis, these funds cannot be relied upon to provide help forever. Indeed, it should not be. I am urging New York Blood Center to renew their support of these chimpanzees, and join those of us who are working to secure their long-term care and provide for their welfare in perpetuity.
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE
Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute &
UN Messenger of Peace
Dr. Goodall's Open Letter to New York Blood Center Regarding the Care of Chimpanzees at the Vilab II Sanctuary in Liberia
Dear Dr. Christopher D. Hillyer,
I am writing to you regarding the 66 chimpanzees at the Vilab II sanctuary in Liberia, and New York Blood Center's (NYBC) cessation of support for the care of these individuals. I was recently made aware of the situation and understand that these chimpanzees would not have received food and water if not for the contributions of concerned individuals and the devotion of the chimpanzee caregivers. I find it completely shocking and unacceptable that NYBC would abandon these chimpanzees and discontinue support for even their basic needs. I strongly urge that you reconsider your decision, and urge you to play a significant role in planning, along with animal protection organizations and chimpanzee experts, for their long-term care.
Chimpanzees are an incredibly intelligent and social species which is critically endangered across their entire range in Africa. They live in large multi-male, multi-female intergenerational groups that have complex social structures. Only 100 years ago, we estimate that there were more than one million individuals across 24 countries in Africa. Today there may be as few as 150,000 to 200,000 individuals and they have completely disappeared from three countries. Research on chimpanzees that were taken from the wild (which always entails killing the mother) has contributed to the decline in their numbers.
We understand that among the coalition of organizations working to address this issue, some, like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), have committed emergency funding to address the immediate needs of these chimpanzees, but this cannot and should not be relied upon forever. Your company was responsible for acquiring these chimpanzees, some we understand even from the wild, and thus has a moral obligation to continue to care for them for the remainder of their lives.
The Jane Goodall Institute has provided reports on the conditions at Vilab since 2006, which included advice on improving the facilities there. To date, it seems that advice has largely been ignored. For example, it was the HSUS that provided funding to repair the water system when it was discovered that the caregivers had to give water to the chimpanzees by hand. A long term solution needs to be found and, again I am urging you to renew your support of these chimpanzees, and join those of us who are working to secure long term care and provide for their welfare in perpetuity.
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE
Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute &
UN Messenger of Peace
Roots & Shoots Artwork Contest
To cooperate with Dr. Jane Goodall Canadian Lecture Tour, an art contest entitled Beyond The Jungle was organized for kindergarten to grade 12 students in Calgary.
We are excited to share the winners from the art contest, who were chosen by Dr. Jane Goodall.
To check out the amazing art work, please click here.
|Photo by Thomas D. Mangelsen|
Happy New Year to all my friends and supporters – JGI and Roots & Shoots family around the world.
First of all let me share my hope that 2015 will be a great year for all of us. We have to face up to the fact that all over the world there is an awful lot of bad news, but we must take heart from the fact that there are also wonderful and inspirational people creating a tremendous amo
unt of good news, most of which is never reported. And we, at JGI, are doing our share in making this a better world for all living things. If only we had a way of somehow demonstrating just how much of a difference we are making, people would be amazed. Because I am always visiting the countries where we work, it’s clear to me that what is happening is magical. And each one of you has contributed in your own way. So I want to say a big, warm, heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone in my JGI family.
I am writing from my third floor attic eyrie in the Birches, the house where I grew up. Where my sister and her family live, keeping the home fires burning, and where I retreat between my endless tours around the world. I am thinking back over 2014. What a year it was. I was in 25 countries, 5 of them more than once. Planes, hotels, lectures, meetings, packing. So much fit into twelve months. Exhausting – but productive.. The 28 JGIs are getting more and more organized, JGI Global is a registered entity and JGI-Europe is coming together. Roots & Shoots is active in 138 countries, with some 150,000 groups of all ages, preschool through university. Collectively they are making a huge impact as they work to improve things for people, other animals and the environment.
On April 3rd I found I had reached the extraordinary age of 80!!! 80 years on planet Earth. That is a very long time. And as, with each passing year, I am one year closer to the end of my mortal life, I feel I have to try and accomplish even more in the time left. So rather than slow down I am speeding up! So many people ask me what keeps me going, and where I get my energy from, that I’ll try to explain. There are several reasons why I am able to do what I do.
The first is my genes. Almost every day I thank my lucky stars – genes! That I have been so healthy, have such a strong immune system.
The second is my upbringing, the support I received as a child from a wise mother and loving family. It definitely helped to shape my very determined, resilient and optimistic personality. It was my mother who told me to follow my dreams and never give up. To respect the views of others, but also to have the courage of my (carefully evaluated) convictions.
The third is the spiritual strength and comfort I derive from snatched moments in nature. The times spent in the forests of Gombe, so long my home; a night on Ngamba Island in Uganda, in a tent close to the moonlit water of Lake Victoria, and waking to the sound of the chimpanzees and a myriad of birds greeting the new day; walking through the dry forests of Dindefelo in Senegal to a fantastic and beautiful waterfall; silently moving up the Erh Ren River in Tainan, Taiwan where I also watched fiddler crabs on newly restored mud flats, and pheasant tailed jacana picking their way over the lotus leaves in the newly restored wetlands; waking to the sounds of birds in Martha’s Bungalow, in complete solitude, high up in the forests of Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Gardens in Hong Kong; walking through a protected woodland area in South Korea; watching the sandhill cranes fly in to their roost on the Platte River as the setting sun created a golden and crimson tapestry with the evening clouds; walking in the alpine forest that surrounds Walter Inmann’s cabin near Vienna in Austria; and looking out at the summer foliage of the birch and beech trees surrounding the ancient pines from the third floor window of my tiny attic room in Bournemouth, listening to the dawn chorus of the same birds that sang to a young girl who dreamed of going to Africa.
Finally, fourth and most important is the incredible support I get from my family and friends, from the staff , board, other volunteers, donors and members of the 28 JGIs and all the Roots & Shoots from around the world. From all of you. Everywhere I go I am welcomed and nurtured. Sometimes I face very demanding schedules, but the enthusiasm and hard work of each country’s team is wonderful and energizing. And the response of the audiences after my lectures is totally energizing.
I am preparing a photo essay about my travels during my 80th birthday year which I shall share after April 3rd, 2015 which ends my birthday year. But for now I just want to repeat my heartfelt gratitude to all of you, all my JGI and R&S family, for helping to make this a better world. As we move forward into 2015 we shall face countless challenges and, inevitably, disappointments. But together, if each of us plays our part, we shall also realize remarkable success.
Is there hope for the future? Yes, because of the energy and commitment of young people who know the problems and take action to solve them. And because of the power of the human brain for good when it is in harmony with the human heart. And because habitats and animals and the human spirit are amazingly resilient.
Let us not forget that every one of us makes a difference. Every day. And we have the choice as to what sort of difference we will make. If we just think about the consequences of the small choices we make – what we eat, what we wear, what we buy. How did it affect the environment? Was child (or adult) slave labor involved? Or animal suffering?
The cumulative effect of even small ethical choices made by thousands of individuals can help us move towards the kind of world we want to leave for our children, and theirs.
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE
Founder,the Jane Goodall Institute
& UN Messenger of Peace
Host a party in honour of Dr. Jane's 80th Birthday
Proceeds go towards the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada.
In honour of Dr. Goodall's 80th birthday ECHOage has designed a commemorative invitation for their party planners.
Hosting an ECHOage party develops compassion and inspires generosity. It involves you in the important work of the Jane Goodall Institute, and the host will receive a Chimp Guardian certificate, and a photo and biography of a chimpanzee from Tchimpounga Sanctuary.
It's easy. You can personalise invitations to a party in just a few clicks. Then, organize and manage gifts from guests. RSVPs, contributions and birthday messages are all easy to view and best of all, it's free to use. To see how it works, click here.
ECHOage is no longer just for kids! It's a party idea that is great for Bar Mitzvahs, engagement parties, holiday events, or even cocktail parties in honour of Jane's 80th! Just start planning at echoage.com/events