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Threats to Animals

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 12:48 min

The problems facing humans and animals are all interconnected. Learn how conflicts between humans and animals threaten both species.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: A System of Exploitation • Conflicts with Farmers • Fishing • Animal Trade


It's pretty clear, if we care about conserving chimpanzees in the wild, that it's not a simple problem, that there are multiple problems, and that they differ from place to place. But certainly, the human population growth, the fact that people are moving out into the forest, taking with them disease-- chimpanzees are so like us, they can catch human disease. So can gorillas, and this can pass from us to the apes, and from the apes to the humans. And a recent, awful example was the Ebola outbreak, which destroyed thousands of gorillas, but also affected thousands of human beings. Cattle, people eating more and more meat. Forests cut down to grow grain to feed the cattle in the intensive farms, but also herders moving the cattle deeper and deeper into the forest, particularly in areas of drought caused by climate change. And as the cattle start eating the young plants, gradually, this is killing the forest. And I've seen forest change from old growth forest to woodland as the young plants are consumed. And then eventually, leading to desertification, soil erosion-- death, death to the environment. And so when you go to a circus and see a chimpanzee performing, or when you look at an advertisement, and you see a chimpanzee dressed up, you may smile, and say, how cute. Oh, they're like people. But you have to realize that this is part of a major, major problem. It's a chimpanzee who's been taken from their mother. Either the mother was shot in the wild, which still goes on to some extent in some countries, or the chimp was taken from the mother in a captive situation. For the baby chimp, it's not that much different. They are trained cruelly. They're dressed up in clothes to make them look cute. To me, that's very disrespectful. And it's partly to do with animal welfare. We shouldn't be treating chimpanzees like that. We need to stop the use of chimps in entertainment. And now, this is a big issue in China, where chimpanzees are suddenly being used in large numbers for advertising. So it's a huge battle. How do we fight it? Education, people need to understand this isn't just a little cute creature, it's part of a whole system of exploitation starting with the destruction of the forest. With more and more people needing more and more food, that leads to commercial bushmeat hunting. And it's a whole complex, interrelated set of problems. When you put them all together, you're pushing chimpanzees, gorillas, and so many other animals, and their forest homes to extinction. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the problems also facing chimpanzees, and of course, other wild animals too, is that as human populations grow and move deeper into the forest, you get conflict between the wild animals and the farmers. It's particularly obvious with elephants. Elephants losing more and more of their habitat, needing huge amounts of food to keep their huge bodi...

About the Instructor

There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.

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