Jane Goodall: Magic of nature revealed in ‘Born in China’

In this April 7, 2017 photo, British primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist Jane Goodall poses for a portrait in New York to promote the Disneynature film, "Born in China." (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The magic of nature and its wildlife often takes great patience for the humans who want to revel in it.

Disneynature’s new film, “Born in China,” is a perfect example of that. The documentary is a little over an hour but it was shot over three years. Dame Jane Goodall, an ambassador for Disneynature, said the imagery was breathtaking and shows the personality of the multiple species captured.

“These photographers wait year in and year out and so they’re able to show the characters of these animals,” she said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “And people say, ‘Oh, Disneynature gives animals a character.’ No, the animals have their own character.”

The film also shows another side of China. Viewers see a snow leopard hunt in terrain unfit for most mammals, a mother giant panda with her cub, and raucous golden monkeys jumping on high forest trees, sending the branches crashing to the ground as they chase and play.

“(People) think of Beijing and Shanghai and glitz and all the rest of it,” Goodall said, “but China is huge and vast and some of these landscapes that are captured in this film are truly spectacular.”

The documentary, Disneynature’s seventh theatrical release, is out April 21, the day before Earth Day. John Krasinski narrates but Goodall has done her part to promote the ambitious project, directed by Chinese filmmaker Lu Chuan.

A portion of tickets sales from the film’s opening weekend will benefit the World Wildlife Fund.

Goodall, 83, has studied chimpanzees for 55 years in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. She has worked for decades on conservation and animal welfare issues. China, she said, should be commended for its work protecting pandas and snow leopards.

Of President Donald Trump’s administration, Goodall said: “I think any administration that is cutting back on protecting the natural world is very disturbing. The same thing’s happening in the U.K. and many other parts of Europe. And of course in Africa, it’s a little bit different, but there’s African presidents who welcome big corporations coming in from outside and they’re sort of selling their natural resources in return for roads or hospitals, and all of this is pretty grim for the future.”

Yet Goodall remains hopeful, especially when it comes to kids. The Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots Program, which encourages young people to become stewards in their communities, now operates in 98 countries, for instance.

“The passion and the energy of young people,” she said, “once they understand the problems, they’re empowered to take action.”