Palaces For The People
Monday, October 20, 2003
Goodall assails Bush administration plan for Endangered Species Act
Goodall assails Bush administration plan for Endangered Species Act


Jane Goodall, the British anthropologist who has observed chimpanzee behavior in Tanzania for four decades, said yesterday that a Bush administration proposal to ease restrictions on hunting, capturing and importing endangered species would worsen cruel and corrupt practices in poor countries.

"The live-animal trade is horrible -- shooting mothers and capturing their babies," Goodall, 69, said during a telephone interview from a hotel room in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Goodall, who travels 300 days a year, will visit Seattle the week after next to raise money for the Jane Goodall Institute, established in 1977 to promote wildlife education and conservation programs around the world.

"Global wildlife is facing dire threats almost everywhere," Goodall said. "In this country right now, the assault on the Endangered Species Act is of great concern."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be accepting public comment through today on the proposal, which would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to buy endangered animals from other countries.

Fish and Wildlife authorities say issuing the permits is consistent with the Endangered Species Act, adopted 30 years ago, and would simply implement rarely used provisions in the law.

Permits would be issued only in countries where conservation efforts are under way. Money spent on crocodile skins from Central America or the importation of the Asian elephant, two of the examples included in the proposed changes, could be used to protect the species in their native countries, according to the proposal.

But Goodall doesn't believe that poachers will heed the rules.

"There's a tendency all over the developing world to just be chasing after worldly goods and not making decisions based on how will this effect children seven generations ahead," Goodall said.

Through her work with chimpanzees, Goodall is credited for altering long-held assumptions about the relationship between human beings and animals.

During her time in the Gombe National Park in what is now Tanzania, where she arrived in 1960, Goodall watched chimpanzees use tools, hunt for meat and exhibit signs of distinct personalities.

She spends most days now preaching conservation, advocating for human and animal rights and soliciting donations for the institute.

Roots & Shoots, one of the institute's main programs, encourages young people worldwide to take an interest in the environment, animals and community through service learning projects.

In the Kigoma region of Tanzania, for example, children plant trees and grass, attend workshops on HIV and AIDS prevention and visit Gombe.

There are 30 Roots & Shoots programs in the Seattle area and nearly 200 across the state.

During her three-day Seattle stay, Goodall will visit Peter Kirk Elementary School in Kirkland, where students and parents recently started a Roots & Shoots chapter.

Goodall will tour a forest behind the school where children have planted native trees, created a compost pile and used the fertilizer to grow tomatoes.

Theresa Demeter, co-coordinator of the program at Peter Kirk, said more than 50 families have signed up.

They have not yet chosen a project, but it likely will include exchanging videotapes of their work with a Roots & Shoots chapter in Africa.

"It's a good opportunity to be locally as well as more globally focused," Demeter said.

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