Documentary explores the life of this trailblazing Canadian giraffologist you’ve never heard of


The Woman Who Loves Giraffes is on screen on Monday, April 29 at the Massey Theatre as part of the Arts Council of New Westminster’s film series.

Anne Innis Dagg with a giraffe at Brookfield Zoo, Chicago. The trailblazing Canadian giraffologist is featured in the documentary The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, screening for Last Mondays at the Movies on April 29.Photograph By Elaisa Vargas, contributed

It was four years before Jane Goodall ventured into the world of chimpanzees, and seven years before Dian Fossey left to work with mountain gorillas. But Innis Dagg remains lesser known than the other two – in part because of the barriers she encountered as a female scientist upon her return home.

A film synopsis notes that Innis Dagg was denied tenure at the University of Guelph in 1972, despite having published 20 research papers as an assistant professor of zoology, and she couldn’t apply to the University of Waterloo because the dean there told her he would never give tenure to a married woman.

“This was the catalyst that transformed Anne into a feminist activist,” the synopsis says.

She was absent from the giraffe world until 2010, when she was sought out by giraffologists and brought back into the fold.

In The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, Innis Dagg retraces the steps of her groundbreaking 1956 journey to South Africa – and discovers a startling contrast between the world of giraffes she once knew and the one it has become.

Last Mondays movie screenings start at 7 p.m., and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $9 general admission, or $8 for students and seniors. You can buy tickets online or pay cash at the door.

The Massey Theatre is at 735 Eighth Ave.

See Arts Council New West for all the details.