Parading with hundreds of animal lovers dressed as black-faced spoonbills and other creatures, British primatologist Jane Goodall yesterday shared her love of animals with the people of Taipei, urging them to respect and understand animals by getting closer to them.
Goodall, who has visited Taiwan nine times to promote conservation and animal welfare, joined her colleagues at the Jane Goodall Institute-Taiwan again yesterday to raise awareness about caring for the environment, animals and the community through the "Roots & Shoots (
"The parade is fun, but it carries a serious message, which is to raise awareness about caring for animals," Goodall said later addressing the participants at the Taipei Municipal Xingya Junior High School.
Starting and finishing off her speech by mimicking the voice of chimpanzees and other animals, Goodall reminded participants that the best way to love animals is to get to know them.
"There is no sharp line between people and animals ? The closer we get [to animals] the more respect and compassion we have for them," she said.
About 25 civil groups and schools joined yesterday's parade, as participants dressed up as all kinds of animals, such as chimpanzees, butterflies, birds and bees.
First grader Cici Chang (張妍希), who wore a bird costume she made herself, said she made the bird's beak with paper cup and fashioned a nest using an old swim ring.
"I don't have a pet, but I would like to raise a cat," she said, adding that the costume took her and her parents less than an hour to make.
Sean McCormack, founder of Animals Taiwan, an animal-rights group that focuses its efforts on rescuing stray dogs and other abandoned animals, told the Taipei Times that it was a private talk with Goodall two years ago that inspired him to start the group.
"I care about stray dogs ? And she said why don't you start an organization. I just thought, why not?" McCormack said, wearing a chimpanzee costume.
Having saved more than 2,500 dogs and other animals in the past two years, Mccormack said more and more Taiwanese, especially younger people, were becoming aware of animal rights, but he continued to urge people to think twice before buying pets.
According to Chen Meng-ker (陳孟可), project director of the Jane Goodall Institute-Taiwan, more than 480 schools, societies and civil groups have joined the institute to promote animal rights.