Conservation's living legend causes stir at the zoo
WITH a sliver of carrot hanging from her mouth, Dr Jane Goodall inches towards Rosie with a playful glimmer in her eye.
It's the first time she's smacked lips with a giraffe, but the 80-year-old pokes out her tongue saying she stole her last kiss from a snake.
Watching her impish interaction with the animals, it was easy to catch a glimpse of the 26-year-old who traded life in England for the chimpanzees in Tanzania.
But at the same time, Dr Goodall exuded the demure, respect and compassion for which she is renowned.
Australia Zoo's African Savannah may be a slight change of scenery for Dr Goodall, who is most known for her profound work with chimpanzees.
But now, her calling is far greater than East Africa and she is devoted to the Jane Goodall Institute and its Roots and Shoots movement.
"I'm not out there in the forest with the chimpanzees, but I had that and nothing can take it away," she said.
"I had it at a time when everything I saw was completely new and not many people can have such a tremendous gift as that.
"So I keep that part within, I use it to raise awareness and I now know that my role is not to be out in the forest with the chimps, but to try and raise awareness particularly among young people."
Dr Goodall's visit to Australia Zoo resonated with Terri Irwin, who waited in line for hours to meet her hero in the 1980s.
"I was so inspired because of her commonsense approach to wildlife conservation," she said.
"She spoke of things like medical research with chimpanzees, it would be so much better to keep them in groups than held individually and I started thinking that's very inspiring for how to work with wildlife in whatever circumstance.
"At the end Jane was kind enough to meet everyone."
After hours of waiting and ordering a pizza in line, Terri was called back to work and never met Dr Goodall.
"I was devastated so I've kind of waited my whole life for this and I'm a little overwhelmed," she said.
"What Jane has done with conservation, not only has no one done before, but particularly being a young woman and her courage and determination are so inspiring to me.
"What I want to learn from Jane is how to do what we're trying to achieve even better."
Yesterday morning, before she addressed the congregation in the Crocoseum, Terri and Bindi unveiled a bench dedicated to her.
"For me being a young person looking at all Jane Goodall's amazing work, I'm so excited to be able to show her where we live and be able to talk with her," Bindi said.
"I'm 15 now and I've looked up to you my whole life."
Dr Goodall's visit was part of an Australian tour celebrating her 80th birthday and an opportunity to spruik her message of conservation.
"It's a bit of a shock for me to find out how many Australian animals are highly endangered," she said.
"There's a lot to be done here in Australia, let alone the rest of the world, and one of the main goals is growing our youth programs (Roots and Shoots) and institutes which is now in 136 countries.
"Its main message is every single one of us makes a difference every single day and we have a choice."
For more information on Dr Jane Goodall's work visit http://www.janegoodall.org.au.