A giant weta at Auckland Zoo now has the prestigious honour of having conservationist and world-renowned primatologist Dr Jane Goodall as her namesake.
The impromptu naming ceremony occurred earlier today when Goodall, 80, toured the zoo and met the giant weta, New Zealand’s largest insect, whom she allowed to crawl onto her hand and tickle her face with its large antennae much to the delight of a group of “eco warriors” from Ponsonby Intermediate school.
Goodall was also delighted to meet the largest insect in New Zealand, declaring it as “beautiful” and gave her blessing for it to take the name Jane. On her tour of the Zoo she also got to stroke a tuatara, feed rare blue ducks, a mountain parrot kea and some native eels.
She had some good advice for the Ponsonby Intermediate’s Eco Warriors too.
“You’ve got to grow up and look after them [New Zealand wildlife species] and make sure all this good work that is being done is not wasted,” Goodall said.
Tonight Goodall, who is also a UN Messenger of Peace, will speak about her life’s work in Africa and why she has reasons for hope. Her sold-out public talk is being held at ASB Arena and is the last of three talks she is giving in New Zealand. She has also addressed audiences in Wellington and Dunedin. The talks are raising money for the Jane Goodall Institute projects including the relocation of Tchimpunga chimpanzees on to islands in the Koilou River in the Republic of Congo, and the youth-based Roots & Shoots programme.