About Us

Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute continues Dr Goodall’s pioneering research on chimpanzee behaviour—research that transformed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals. Today, the Institute is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It also is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centred conservation and development programmes in Africa, and the Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots global environmental and humanitarian programme for young people, which has groups in over 130 countries.

Project Locations

The Greater Gombe Ecosystem

The Greater Gombe Ecosystem (GGE) has many natural treasures. Its chimpanzees are subjects of global importance and national pride. Lake Tanganyika boasts nearly 300 unique fish species. Other endemic species are subjects of international conservation concern--scaly pangolins, mninga trees with their unusual winged fruits, and serval cats.

GGE also has Tanzania’s highest human population growth rate--4.8 percent. As people here must rely more and more on forest resources, a host of problems ensues, including drying up of watersheds, and erosion that can lead to dangerous landslides during rains. Fuel wood for cooking becomes scarce, forcing women to walk miles daily to reach ever-diminishing woodlands. GGE’s 5 chimp populations also suffer—isolated from each other inside fragmented habitat and faced with fewer food sources.

Given the harsh realities local communities face, solutions must be holistic. JGI has identified 18 strategies designed to restore and improve the ecosystem for the benefit of all—chimpanzees as well as human communities.

Masito Ugalla Ecosystem

Nestled between the Gombe National Park and Mahale Moutains National Park in western Tanzania, the Masito-Ugalla Ecosystem (MUE) is a sparsely-population and relatively unprotected forest habitat that is home to more than 500 chimpanzees and other endangered or threatened species such as the red colobus monkey, bushbaby, elephants, eland, hartebeest, and duikers.

Limited and incomplete socio-economic information suggests that human populations have grown in recent years, mostly supporting themselves with shifting agriculture, small-scale logging, charcoal burning, hunting, honey-collecting and other practices that damage the local environment. In an attempt to prevent further degradation of the forest habitat in Masito-Ugalla, JGI has applied the model of collaborating with local communities to address their specific needs from the GGE programme.

Albertine Rift Region, Uganda

Extending from the northern part of Lake Albert, through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Tanzania, to the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika, the Albertine Rift is one of the highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation in Africa. An incredible variety of habitats, such as bamboo forests and Afromontane forests, savannahs, and lowland forests support diverse communities of species. For example: 402 species of mammals (that’s 39% of African mammal diversity, and includes gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, bongos, small and large carnivores, and many others), more than 1,000 birds (52% of Africa’s bird species), 175 reptiles, 118 amphibians, more than 400 fish, and nearly 6,000 plants are found in the Albertine Rift region!

JGI’s work in Uganda’s Rift region focuses on four major forested areas that are home to more than 75% of the country’s estimated population of 5000 chimpanzees: Budongo Forest Reserve, Bugoma Forest Reserve, Kalinzu Forest Reserve, and Kibale National Park. Human encroachment, poaching, and a lack of income-generating activities in the local human populations are pressuring the availability of natural resources in and around these reserves. In order to combat these threats, JGI works to increase the capacity of local ecoguards and government employees to manage protected areas, engage local communities in land-use and natural resource-use planning, promote sustainable livelihoods, and educate students about wildlife and the importance of healthy ecosystems.

JGI is also involved in the development of ecotourism operations. The Budongo Forest Reserve, with its flat terrain and easy accessibility for tourists traveling to see the Murchison Falls, is an ideal place for an ecotourism site. JGI has worked in Budongo since 2006 to improve infrastructure such as tourist accommodations, the visitor centre, and campsite and walking trails, as well as develop capacity to allow the National Forest Authority and other local organizations to engage in conservation activities and generate revenue from ecotourism.

Mt. Otzi Central Forest Reserve, Uganda

Located in northern Uganda, the Mt. Otzi Central Forest Reserve (CFR) encompasses more than 18,000 hectares of forest that is contiguous with the 41,000 hectare Nimule National Park in Southern Sudan. In a study of biodiversity in forests across Uganda, the Otzi CFR ranked tenth out of 65 in species diversity and rarity of species; seven tree species, three butterflies, and one small mammal are found only in Mt. Otzi.

To protect vulnerable species such as chimpanzees and elephants that range across the Ugandan-Sudanese border, JGI is working with the Wildlife Conservation Society to establish a mechanism for cooperation between Ugandan and Sudan Protected Area (PA) authorities. Particularly, JGI’s efforts will focus on the area surrounding the Otzi CFR in Uganda, to sensitize local communities about the importance of sustainable natural resource use and to develop the government’s capacity to protect the Reserve.

Tchimpounga Natural Reserve, Republic of Congo

Tchimpounga Natural Reserve (TNR) is characterized by a mosaic of dry open savannahs, densely forested gorges, flood plains, mangrove swamps, and coastal Mayombe forest, Africa’s most endangered ecosystem type, of which only approximately 10% remains. Congo is home to twice as much Mayombe forest as in all neighbouring countries combined. These forests shelter many endangered species such as chimpanzees, forest elephants, and western lowland gorillas, as well as guenons, mandrill, civets, jackals, pangolins, three species of antelopes, pythons, and eleven species of bats.

Due to the close proximity of this highly diverse and important area to the Republic of Congo’s second largest urban area (Pointe Noire), TNR faces many of the pressures that human populations place on natural resources. To prevent poaching, JGI employs local Eco-guards to protect the reserve, and is performing intensive biological surveys to determine the best sites for possible reintroduction of captive chimpanzees into the wild.

Maiko-Tayna-Kahuzi Biega Landscape, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dense Afromontane forests clinging to mountains along the Albertine Rift characterize the area where JGI works in eastern DRC. Encompassing Maiko and Kahuzi Biega National Parks and the Tayna Nature Reserve and situated just west of the Greater Virunga area, the Maiko-Tayna-Kahuzi Biega landscape is home to a rich abundance of Congo Basin wildlife, including chimpanzee, eastern gorillas, elephants, okapis, bongo (antelope), leopards, and nearly a dozen other primate species. 

While subsistence activities in the area include shifting agriculture, bushmeat hunting, and cattle-, goat-, and sheep-herding, security and human combat is a major issue. Located in the heart of the North Kivu province in eastern DRC, this landscape is also in the heart of the battlegrounds for a guerrilla-style war between two militias and the Congolese army. Unfortunately, the violence of the human war has spilled over into the park and is affecting its inhabitants; in July, 2007, an entire family of seven gorillas was killed and left by unknown poachers.

JGI works with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) and the Union of Associations for Gorilla Conservation and Community Development in Eastern DRC (UGADEC) to provide supplies and build capacity for park guards. In addition, JGI applies the TACARE model to improve health services and support the development of sustainable agricultural practices for local communities near the parks.

Guinea and Sierra Leone

The Guinean Forest Hotspot region, which includes Guinea, Sierra Leone and other countries in western Africa, has the highest mammalian diversity among the world’s 25 identified Hotspots, and is one of the two highest priority regions for world primate conservation. The fragmented forests along the border separating Guinea and Sierra Leone, now just 10% of their original size, are critical habitat for a significant population of Western Chimpanzees, estimated between 12,000 and 23,000 individuals.

West Africa is also known for having high human populations, and the border between Guinea and Sierra Leone is no exception. Rural populations in Guinea and Sierra Leone are suffering significant economic hardships, and therefore must have direct incentives to conserve the remaining wildlife and habitat. Threats like deforestation, poaching and the bushmeat and pet trades are exacerbated by a lack of alternative income generating activities, information and awareness about the benefits of conservation and the laws that are in place to protect natural resources, as well as a lack of good governance and enforcement. These issues are intensified in the border regions where different policies, laws, and practices exist, and often complicate the management of natural resources.

JGI began implementing integrated conservation and development activities in both Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2005 with a significant education and awareness-raising campaign focused on chimpanzees and environmental conservation. The project also made significant contributions to build the capacity of local non-governmental organizations focused on environmental issues and the orphan chimpanzee sanctuaries in each country. JGI’s relationship with the governments is strong, and we remain committed to helping these countries preserve their precious natural resources.