This week sees the launch of the “Wild Immersion” films. The Wild Immersion is a virtual reality entertainment production company which makes incredible films about wild natural environments. The audience is placed in 360° experiences through virtual reality (VR) headsets and immersive places, as if they were transported into the action. The Wild Immersion hopes to become the main producer of virtual reality movies about true experiences anywhere and is funded by the Jane Goodall institute who wants these films to transpose people (who would never be able to travel) on a safari to the wildest places and then make them care deeply for the environment.
Jane Goodall, who turned 84 this year is the one person who has completely shaped the way I look at nature. She is the conservationist that inspires me the most because of the amazing research she carried out in Tanzania on chimpanzees and the way she has always campaigned for a better understanding of their world and ours.
She loved to see the similarities and differences between chimps and humans’ behaviour. She did not have a Science degree from any university but proved that you can become anything you want by hard work and determination. Jane grew up in London, England and deeply loved animals even as a child. When she was one her dad gave a chimp stuffed toy – her parents’ friends said that it would scare her and give her nightmares – but in fact it became her favourite animal. At the age of five she went to a farm to look at the hen house and was fascinated with the chicken’s eggs. Where did they come from? She always wanted to know things and always asked questions to find out more. When she became older she became a secretary and worked a bit in the film-making world but none of these were the things she aspired to be.
1956 is the year her life changed. A friend of hers invited her to their family’s farm in Kenya, and there she met the amazing palaeontologist Louis Leakey who gave her the opportunity to go travel to Tanzania to study a group of chimpanzees.
On July 14, 1960, Jane Goodall began setting up her camp at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania and made some astonishing discoveries about chimps and wrote many articles that gained international respect. Leakey later arranged for Jane to earn her Ph.D. in ethology (that’s the science of animal behaviour) from Cambridge University. She was one of only eight people ever to have a doctoral dissertation accepted by Cambridge without first having an undergraduate degree. She has never stopped working since and is still travelling all over the world to make sure we understand how to best treat our environment and protect every creature that shares our planet.The numbers are chilling: 16,000 species are in danger of extinction, including a quarter of all mammals and one in five plant species.
Her Wild Immersion series promises to be amazing and we can hope it will transform how everyone sees the world. As Jane Goodall said so well: