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Dr Jane Goodall in Dubai

DUBAI Renowned primatologist and world’s best known female scientist Dr Jane Goodall has once again lampooned Donald Trump.

In 2017, she famously likened the US President’s behaviour to that of a chimpanzee. On Saturday, she said if there’s one voice she never listens to, it’s Donald Trump’s.

The British conservationist, who has studied chimpanzees for over 50 years, was addressing a sold-out crowd at InterContinental Dubai - Festival City on Saturday in the run-up to the Emirates Airline Literature Festival.

The 86-year-old who travels the world 300 days out of the year offered hope saying tiny changes by people can save the Earth.

“We are destroying our beautiful planet faster and faster. If we get together, we could still heal the damage, slow down climate change and prevent global warming,” she said during her jam-packed session titled Reasons for Hope.

Groundbreaking research

Regarded as the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees, Dr Goodall’s groundbreaking work in the Sixties led to the discovery that chimpanzees make and use tools and also experience emotions once believed to be unique to humans.

We are part of and not separated from the animal world. Today, losing just one species could lead to the total collapse of the ecosystem.

- Renowned primatologist Dr Jane Goodall
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Dr Jane Goodall
Dud you know?
Formerly Baroness Dr Jane Goodall always travels with a special companion to remind her of the “indomitable human spirit.” That companion is a stuffed toy monkey called Mr H given to her by a blind magician. Mr. H has been with Goodall for 28 years and has traveled to 64 countries.

She was 26 when she travelled from England to what is now Tanzania and plunged into the hitherto unknown world of wild chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park, equipped with just a notebook and a pair of binoculars.

In Dubai on Saturday, the crowd listened transfixed as she recounted her awe-inspiring life story, beginning with her curiosity about animals as a child, to moving to Kenya to work with anthropologist Louis Leakey, to rescuing chimps from research labs and efforts to help towns near chimpanzee habitats create sustainable livelihoods while promoting conservation goals through the Jane Goodall Institute which she founded in 1977.

“Genetically, chimpanzees are closest to humans as they share 98.6 per cent of our DNA. Sadly, these incredibly intelligent creatures are susceptible to conflict and contagious diseases because of the relentless growth of human population and deforestation. “We are part of and not separated from the rest of the animal world. Today, losing just one species could lead to the total collapse of the ecosystem,” she warned.

Eco-friendly choices

Blaming global warming for weather-related natural disasters such as floods and storms, Dr Goodall said simple eco-friendly choices could stem the rot.

Asked to name someone (environment activist) who she listens to, she retorted by saying she’d would rather name someone she never pays heed to . “If there’s one voice I never listen to, it’s Donald Trump’s,” she quipped.

Just back from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Dr Goodall also spoke about her educational project Roots & Shoots in the UAE.

Roots & Shoots

Up and running in more than 60 countries, the global community action programme encourages young people of all ages to undertake projects for their local community, for animals and for the environment.

She also praised the UAE’s increased commitment to renewal energy and its efforts to bringing the Arabian Oryx back from extinction,

Dr Goodall’s session comes on the back of her equally successful lecture at the Emirates Literature Foundation last year.

The author of books such as Reason for Hope (1999), The Chimpanzees I Love (2001), Dr Goodall is among several international icons who will headline the 12th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature which runs from February 4 to 9 at InterContinental, Dubai Festival City.

Other big names include world’s greatest explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes; bestselling memoir and fiction author Mitch Albom; TV presenter and best-selling author Nadiya Hussain; the first Arab winner of the International Man Booker Prize Jokha Alharthi; celebrity branding expert Jeetendr Sehdev; space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, and UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansouri.

At a glance:

What: Emirates Literature Festival

Where: InterContinental, Dubai Festival City

When: Febraury 4-9