During a conference call before the debut of a new National Geographic documentary titled "Jane Goodall: The Hope," the 86-year-old said the advent of a pandemic such as the coronavirus was predicted years before.
She continued, saying it is "our disrespect of the animals we should share the planet with" that led to the current pandemic.
Goodall reportedly highlighted potential causes for rogue viruses, such as animals that are hunted and sold for food in crowded markets and deforestation that forces wild species closer to human inhabitants.
"Because as we destroy, let's say the forest, the different species of animals in the forest are forced into a proximity and therefore diseases are being passed from one animal to another, and that second animal is then most likely to infect humans as it is forced into closer contact with humans," she said.
She praised China's efforts to temporarily ban markets soliciting wild animal products, adding that she hoped other countries would follow suit, according to the news outlet.
China's agriculture ministry announced new guidelines Wednesday that would reportedly reclassify dogs as pets rather than livestock, a move animal rights activists call a "game-changer."
She also called for careful consideration of people in African countries who hunt for bush meat, citing other global regions that are at risk for potential novel virus outbreaks.
"It will need a lot of careful thought on how it should be done, you can't just stop somebody doing something when they have absolutely no money to support themselves or their families," she said. "But at least this pandemic should have taught us the kind of things to do to prevent another one."
Goodall said people should consider little choices they make, such as their diets, the origins of their food and whether it causes cruelty to animals.
"So what we can do in our individual lives does depend a little bit on who we are, but we all can make a difference, everybody can," she said.