By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The founder of Jane Goodall Institute and popular and well renowned animal conservationist, anthropologist, Dr. Jane Goodall has told journalists that protecting the forest was one of the key ways of reducing climate change on the environment.
Dr. Goodall who is on a three-day visit to the small West African country of Sierra Leone, told reporters that if you want to protect chimpanzees one must protect the forests which helps in reducing the effect of climate change.
‘’Because Forest absorb carbon dioxide, then they gave us oxygen, they give us clean air and clean water and if all around the world, the importance of protecting the historian forest was understood, that will be a long way towards in mitigating the effect of climate change,’’ she told reports during her visit at the Tacugama Sanctuary.
The Environmental world icon said what’s happening now in the world people are becoming more and more aware of what they are doing to the environment adding that Unfortunately, most people, even if they care, they do not know what to do if they are helpless thus bringing this awareness, to the general public is help by promoting in conserving environment.
She said she was excited to officially launched the start of a youth programme on preserving chimps and the environment and to see the west African country seeing chimpanzees as a national animal.
‘’As far I know Sierra Leone is the first country to declare the chimpanzee as its national animal and I think this is very exciting. Because you know chimpanzees are the closest living relatives. We have this incredible sanctuary which is definitely one of the very best in Africa. So when people know this is the national animal, its gives an added importance by the authorities to clamp down on the illegal and poaching of the chimpanzees,’’ the world’s environmentalist revealed.
When asked why she chooses to visit the small West African country of Sierra Leone, she replied,’’ I’m 300 days on the road, I visit all the countries where there are chimpanzees programme whenever I can, it’s not easy to get here and so most of our work is in East Africa and the Lake Tanganyika and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The anthropologist whilst commenting on rescue of so many infant chimps that are still coming in to the only sanctuary for chimpanzee in Sierra Leone, stated that it, means that the hunting, of chimpanzees is still going on unchecked, and if that continues unchecked, then gradually the chimpanzees will start to become extinct because they are slow breeders. The female doesn’t have her first baby until 10-12.
She said tourism can really be helping by bringing in foreign Exchange, providing jobs for the locals, thus helping for the conservation of the environment including animals because they see an economic benefit there by improving their own lives.
Dr. Goodall a world-renowned anthologist will conclude her visit in West Africa on the 1st March with an address to the kids and talk about her Roots and Shoots Program.