Dr. Jane Goodall Remembers Dr. Thomas Lovejoy


Dr. Thomas Lovejoy died on 25th December – what a tragic Christmas for those close to him – and a sense of loss for all who knew him as a warm and caring human being, the opposite of arrogant, and a true giant in the conservation world. He was a scientist who brought an understanding and love of the natural world to millions. His editorials in the New York Times were very educational – and he wrote in such an engaging way.  It was he who first drew the world’s attention to the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and he succeeded, working with other scientists, in bringing the need for protecting the Amazon Basin forest and its rich biodiversity high up in the conservation agenda.  He changed WWF from a small NGO to the world organization it has become today.  

He predicted that, with the rate of habitat destruction, we were destined to lose many species of plants and animals – and lived to see his prophesy come true as we moved into the sixth great extinction. And he was a mentor as well as friend to many students. I never spent much time with Tom  but we both had close ties to the National Geographic Society – we were both Explorers in Residence and met on a number of occasions when we shared ideas and exchanged stories. He was someone who made a strong and lasting impression. His contributions to science and conservation will ensure him a lasting legacy.  My condolences to his family and many friends. Tom, may you rest in peace and feel the loving thoughts of those whose lives you touched.

About Author

Jane Goodall is a passionate road warrior, traveling nearly 300 days each year on a worldwide speaking tour to raise awareness, inspire change, and encourage each of us to do our part in making the world a better place. Jane's love for animals started at a young age and in July of 1960, at the age of 26, she followed her dreams and traveled from England to what is now Tanzania, to bravely enter the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars, but with her unyielding patience and optimism, she won the trust of the Gombe chimpanzees, and opened a window into their lives for all to see. Jane's studies has taught humanity one of the most important lessons - that we humans are not the only beings on this planet with personalities, minds capable of thinking and above all, emotions. Her findings shook the scientific community and made us re-evaluate what it means to be human.