Chief Executive’s Blog

April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment


Welcome again to my weekly blog.

Dr. Jane Goodall with Gombe chimpanzee Freud © Michael Neugebauer

Dr. Jane Goodall with Gombe chimpanzee Freud
© Michael Neugebauer

This week I want to tell you about a very special Royal Zoological Society of Scotland talk taking place next month in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh and the Jane Goodall Institute. The amazing Jane Goodall herself will speak from the heart about the world of the Gombe chimpanzees, drawing on a lifetime of challenges and unique experiences that she has encountered first hand in the field.

Taking place on the evening of Thursday 1 May at Edinburgh University New College Assembly Hall, on Mound Place, Jane will share her thoughts on the illegal wildlife trade, her opinion on the future of chimpanzees in the wild, and her vision for the future of conservation. Jane will also offer her particular guidance on how as a world we should navigate the currents threats facing the plant and why she thinks there is reason for hope in these troubled times.

Glitter watches her sister Gaia fish for termites at Gombe National Park © the Jane Goodall Institute

Glitter watches her sister Gaia fish for termites at Gombe National Park
© the Jane Goodall Institute

If you go along, you can also hear all about the work of the Jane Goodall Institute that is dedicated to her pioneering research and spearheads projects to protect chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The Institute has also established innovative community-centred conservation and development programmes in Africa, and Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots is a global environmental and humanitarian youth programme.

Tickets cost £15 or £12 for students and RZSS members, and all we are delighted to advise that proceeds from the evening will be donated to the Jane Goodall Institute UK. Tickets must be booked in advance, so if you are interested visit http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/events/2014/05/jane-goodall-reasons-for-hope

CapuchinwithOnionWith Edinburgh International Science Festival now in full swing, there are some fantastic events taking place around the city and of course at Edinburgh Zoo too. University of St Andrews researchers have been working our Discovery and Learning team to create an exciting exhibit entitled ‘Wild Medicine’. The exhibit will run at Edinburgh Central Library this weekend on 12, 14 and 15 April, before coming to Edinburgh Zoo on 16 April. Focused on how the animal kingdom uses its natural environment to help prevent and treat infection and disease, visitors to the exhibit will learn how chimps use rolled up leaves to remove gut parasites and how capuchins use smelly plants to prevent insect bites. They will also find out how honey bees treat fungal infections in their hives and why house sparrows have been seen adding cigarette butts to their nests. The exhibit will also feature a variety of human medications that have been derived from plants. At Edinburgh Zoo on 16 April we will then be delighted to demonstrate some of this live science to our visitors, free with Zoo entry. For a preview, take a look at this Monkey Medicine film http://vimeo.com/34373166

Finally, things are still on-track and looking very good with our giant pandas as Tian Tian progresses toward her breeding window. As soon as there is more news I will be sure to let you know.

Best wishes,

Chris West

Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given.  But up to now he hasn’t been a creator, only a destroyer.  Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day. 

~Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, 1897

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