Before being rescued, Wounda the chimpanzee was in rough shape, to the point where survival seemed uncertain. Wounda was just a baby when her mother was killed by poachers — all alone, she was left to fend for herself for weeks. Suffering from extreme illness and near to death, Wounda was saved by Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center and The Jane Goodall Institute in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
After years of rehabilitation, Wounda regained her strength and was well-prepared to be released back into the wild. On June 20, 2013, Jane Goodall and her team set to release Wounda on Tchindzoulou Island, one of three islands acting as a chimpanzee sanctuary. Wounda was transported by boat to the remote island alongside Dr. Goodall and a team of volunteers. Seconds after her release, Wounda turns to Dr. Jane Goodall and embraces her in an affectionate hug. Teary-eyed, Jane Goodall watches her friend disappear into the thick jungle, where she will roam happily with 160 other chimpanzees.
Watch Wounda’s emotional goodbye in the video below.
Mitchell Canh is a West Michigan resident and enjoys exploring the great outdoors. He lives by the Vietnamese proverb and his family's motto: "The good leaves protect the worn-out leaves." He hopes to protect the Earth and its inhabitants from climate change and pollution.