National Geographic: Among the Wild Chimpanzees


forbidding realm

But for Jane Goodall

it was where she most wanted to be

"During my first days at Gombe I

could hardly believe it was true

At last I was out in the wild

I didn't see many animals

but I had the feeling they were there

all around, watching me

There were rustles in the undergrowth

strange calls

smells I could not identify."

For months

the objects of her search invariably

fled at the mere sight of her

Often she couldn't find them at all

It was a steep

rigorous climb to the open ridges above

but perhaps, she hoped

a way to pinpoint the nomadic apes below

"I discovered not far from camp

that there was a peak overlooking

two valleys

And from this vantage point

I was able to gradually piece together

the daily behavior of the chimps

The major advantage of the Peak was

that the chimps could see me

sitting up there and gradually

get used to my presence."

Sitting quietly in the same spot

day after day

always dressed in the same

neutral colors

never attempting to

follow the shy apes

the figure on the Peak gradually

became less of a threat

It would be some time, however

before Jane was accepted at closer range

Though the chimps now

recognized the intruder

her intent was far from clear

Jane had to accept the

realization that

for the being being at least

much of her knowledge would

be based on indirect evidence

like an abandoned sleeping

nest high in the trees

Jane found the nest was not

simply a pile of wadded leaves

but a carefully interwoven

platform created by dexterous hands

and a reasoning brain

But the intelligent creature

who made it had long since moved on

Impatient with her slow progress

with the chimps

Jane stretched each day to the

final rays of the setting sun

This would be her first meal

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "National Geographic: Among the Wild Chimpanzees" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 27 Oct. 2020. <>.

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