World famous primate researcher Jane Goodall made a rare visit to one of her favorite zoos Thursday.
The 88-year-old legend spent her day at the Oakland Zoo sharing her story with several hundred school children before chatting with the chimpanzees.
“Right from the beginning I was fascinated by animals,” said Goodall.
She is just as passionate as ever about spreading awareness and appreciation for animals and the environment. Hundreds of Bay Area school children got a chance to hear from Goodall, who is best known for her trailblazing chimpanzee research, as she visited the zoo for the first time in 20 years.
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“I hope they come away with the feeling they can make a difference," said Goodall. "That what they do each day will make a difference ... they as individuals matter and have a role to play and make a difference every day.”
Goodall then spent some time with the zoo’s chimpanzees, the species she immersed herself in studying in their own habitat, uncovering how similar their behaviors are to humans.
“Helping people understand that animals like us have personalities, minds, emotions and can feel fear and pain,” said Goodall.
She added that she’s still learning more about chimpanzees and that despite her age, she travels 300 days a year, determined to continue her groundbreaking work.
“The older you get the closer you get to where the end is. There is so much to do,” she said. “There are so many people's hearts I want to reach and I’m getting less and less time so I have to speed up and up.”
Though legendary, Goodall is also remarkably humble.
“Plain Jane, that's me,” she said.