When Wounda the Chimpanzee was rescued, she was desperately ill and near death. In fact, the name “Wounda” means “close to dying.”
It took years of rehabilitation before Wounda could be considered ready to return to the wild. Dr. Rebeca Atencia, manager of the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center and head of the Jane Goodall Institute-Congo, was responsible for much of that care. She is credited by Dr. Jane Goodall with bringing Wounda “back from the dead.”
On June 20, 2013, the time for Wounda to be released had finally arrived. She was to be the fifteenth chimpanzee to be released to the sanctuary’s Tchindzoulou Island.
Accompanied by Dr. Goodall and Dr. Atencia, volunteers slid open the door of Wounda’s crate. She bounded out with incredible energy and curiosity. For a moment she stopped to cuddle with Dr. Atencia, and then leapt on top of the crate and looked around with amazement.
Seconds later without prompting or encouragement, Wounda turned to face Dr. Goodall and wrapped her arms around her, giving her a long and affectionate hug.