Conserving a Species, while Caring about Individuals
Jane Goodall’s philosophy of ‘Every Individual Matters’ has been a core foundation for our Africa Programs at the Jane Goodall Institute. In each country we work in, we consider the plight of individual chimpanzees, along with that of communities and populations. A case example is Congo Republic, where we have worked for over two decades. The original efforts centered around the welfare of individuals that had been confiscated or surrendered over to authorities. In the past 20 years, more than 200 individuals have been brought to the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center. In the last 5 years, as the country has politically stabilized, we have been able to expand our focus on public awareness, education and habitat protection with positive results. Conservation of any species, will only be achieved when local stakeholders value and respect the targeted species. Our commitment to individuals, provides an important platform for engaging local stakeholders to consider their actions and interactions with other species. The results of our public awareness campaign is indicating that a change is taking place and our efforts have not been in vain. Results show a drop from 26% of confiscations originating from the southern Province of Kouilou over a 20 year period, to 0% in the last five years, since the implementation of our education and public awareness programs and street surveys. These results indicate an appreciation and understanding of why apes need to be protected by the general public.