Jane Goodall and chimpanzee David Greybeard honoured with Barbie doll

Dr Jane Goodall Image Vitrolphoto/shutterstock.com

Jane Goodall, famous for her work with primates, has been honour with a new Barbie doll in her and David Greybeard’s likeness.

Mattel, the makers of Barbie, announced on Monday, July 11 that they had fulfilled her life-long wish to be immortalised in her own doll, one that could be an inspiration to young girls across the world. The doll will join others from the “celebrating role models” range.

Responding to the announcement on Tuesday, July 12, Goodall told Reuters: “I wanted a doll to be me even before this idea came up. I’ve seen…little girls playing with Barbie dolls and certainly at the beginning, they were all very girly girly and I thought little girls need…some choice.

“Mattel has changed its range of dolls and there are all kinds of astronauts and doctors and things like that. So many children learn about me at school. They’ll be thrilled to have the Barbie doll.”

The new doll is made from recycled plastic and sees Goodall clad in khaki with a pair of binoculars around her neck. Sitting beside her is David Greybeard, the first chimpanzee to trust her.

Goodall, now 88, began her primate research in what was then the Gombe National Park back in 1960. She observed that chimpanzees were intelligent animals able to make tools, hunt and eat meat and show compassion.

She said: “When I got to Gombe, it was beautiful, my dream had come true.

“But for four months the chimps ran away from me…so although the forest was wonderful, I couldn’t enjoy it until this David Greybeard lost his fear and helped the others to lose their fear too.”

Mattel is taking the relationship with the Jane Goodall Institute one step further by partnering with the organisation and its youth movement Roots and Shoots. They hope through the partnership, to raise awareness of environmental issues and the impact that each and every one of us has on our world.

Goodall said of the partnership: “I see us at the mouth of a very long, very dark tunnel with a little shining star at the end and it’s no good sitting at the mouth of the tunnel and saying ‘Oh, I hope that star comes to us.’ Hope is about action.

“We… work around all these obstacles between us and the star, which is climate change, loss of biodiversity, poverty, unsustainable lifestyles, pollution, you name it. And as we go along the tunnel, we reach out to others because there are people working on each one of these problems but so often they’re working in silos.”

Mattel has been working to become more relevant by using Barbie to raise awareness of sensitive issues, the hope is that the Jane Goodall and chimpanzee David Greybeard look-alikes will once again put primates and conservation foremost in the minds of young girls.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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