PETALING JAYA - Dr Jane Goodall, whose groundbreaking research on chimpanzee behaviour made her a household name among ape lovers, is visiting Malaysia for the first time.
Goodall, who turns 81 in April, is in town to raise awareness about Roots & Shoots, an organisation she co-founded in 1991 as a way of empowering young people to take part in projects on animals, the environment and the community.
In an exclusive interview with The Star, Goodall said she was glad that there were many Malaysians who showed concern about wildlife conservation and the environment.
She said she hoped that her visit would inspire more people, especially youths, to join the green movement and have a more positive outlook on Earth's future.
"I've met so many young people and they seem not to have much hope," she said yesterday.
"They read all the bad news, the doom and the gloom, and when I talk to them, they get angry and violent.
"Or just apathetic. They say - 'You've compromised the future'.
"And they're right. We have compromised the future," said Goodall.
Besides launching this year's programme for the Malaysian chapter of Roots & Shoots that she co-founded in October last year, Goodall is scheduled to make four public appearances during her two-day stop in Kuala Lumpur.
Her first appearance will be a talk hosted by the British International School in Bandar Utama today between 9.30am and 11.30am.
Some 700 students from schools in the Klang Valley are expected to attend.
On the same day, the eminent primatologist is the guest of "An Evening With Jane Goodall" presented by The Iclif Leadership and Governance Centre.
The event, which includes dinner and a one-hour talk by Goodall, will be held at Lanai Kijang.
According to the organisers' website, tickets have been sold out.
Those keen on hearing Goodall's insights should try to score tickets for "Reasons for Hope: A Talk by Jane Goodall" tomorrow between 9.30am and 12.30pm at Berjaya Times Square Hotel.
Presented by Borders and co-organised by Roots & Shoots Malaysia and Berjaya Youth, the talk is to be attended by more than 2,000 people.
Goodall's final engagement will be at the Starbucks outlet in Kota Kemuning tomorrow, where she is slated to officially launch a one-year programme of collaborative projects by the coffee franchise and Roots & Shoots Malaysia.
She will next travel to Singapore and South Africa to promote initiatives by Roots & Shoots and her namesake organisation, The Jane Goodall Institute.