Wounda’s Journey

This amazing video documents the story of Wounda, one of the more than 160 chimpanzees living at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo.

Thanks to the expert care provided at Tchimpounga, Wounda overcame significant adversity and illness and was recently relocated to Tchindzoulou Island, one of three islands that are part of the newly expanded sanctuary. Dr. Jane Goodall was on hand to witness Wounda’s emotional release, and now you can too.

Disclaimer: Please note, that Dr. Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute do not endorse handling or interfering with wild chimpanzees.

The Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center is a haven for rescued orphan chimpanzees. Originally built to accommodate 30 chimpanzees, Tchimpounga now cares for over 160 … and that number is growing. To ensure that we will never have to turn away a rescued chimpanzee, JGI is expanding Tchimpounga to include three islands: Tchindzoulou, Tchibebe and Ngombe.

Due to the illegal commercial bushmeat trade, more and more sick and injured orphaned chimpanzees are being brought to JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary. JGI never wants to turn away a chimpanzee who need our help, but to do that we need to expand Tchimpounga, which currently cares for over five times the amount of chimpanzees the sanctuary was originally built to hold. This has created a crowded and unsafe situation for both chimps and JGI staff.

The expansion of the Tchimpounga sanctuary to the islands will serve two vital purposes. Firstly, by freeing up much needed space at the current sanctuary site by moving older chimpanzees to these islands, JGI will be able to continue accepting more rescued chimpanzees into the sanctuary, giving these chimps a second chance at a happy life. Secondly, the new island habitats will give Tchimpounga’s chimpanzees much more room to play, learn, and explore in a safe, more natural environment.

Expanding Tchimpounga to these three islands will ensure that JGI can continue accepting orphaned chimpanzees brought to the sanctuary. Having a safe place to send rescued chimpanzees makes it easier for law-enforcement to uphold laws against trafficking chimpanzees. Also, by living in this more natural environment, chimpanzees practice the skills they need to survive in the wild. This will make it easier for JGI to perhaps one day reintroduce these chimpanzees back into the wild.

6 responses

  1. Don

    I watched this with a lump in my throat. The way she put her arms around her was so beautiful. I so deeply admire these people. True heroes, although they would probably be the first to deny it. Thank you.


    February 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    • Don I am right there with you, with tears. Heroes for sure. These creatures suffer as a result of the worst aspects of humanity. Goodall’s life work has been to try to learn and understand and more recently to try to correct the horrors inflicted on them. She ranks right up there at the top as far as I’m concerned. A noble and fierce woman of the heart.


      February 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm

  2. this story is moving to me, mystery!
    may these and other primates remember
    that some humans took compassionate actions
    when this becomes planet of the apes šŸ™‚


    February 22, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    • Indeed! We have so much to learn (or relearn) from them I believe. Who or what will remain in the next century? (Referring to your last post on TNH)
      We all are children of the earth. Goodall is a true compassionate steward and is an inspiration to me. (It would be the ultimate irony if the tables were turned, though. You are right! šŸ™‚ )


      February 22, 2014 at 9:41 pm

  3. Bittersweet for sure. What an amazing thing to witness the embrace between Wounda and her human friends. Thank you for this share!


    February 23, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    • Thank you Debra. I’ve re-watched it several times and it continues to move me.


      February 23, 2014 at 6:04 pm

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