|19th century etching of a chimpanzee|
In the Congo the name Wounda means 'close to dying', which is what she was when she was rescued and taken to the Jane Goodall Institute's Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center, where she was nursed back to health. Eventually, she was well enough to be released back into the wild, a sanctuary on Tchindzoulou Island in the nearby Kouilou River. When her crate was open and she was free to go, Wounda hesitated and took stock of the strange situation, then embraced Dr Rebeca Atencia, who'd cared for her, and world-famous primatologist Jane Goodall, before venturing into the forest to explore her new home. The video had me in tears.
And why have I called her Cousin Wounda? As the Jane Goodall Institute says, "Biologically, chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to another species of great apes—gorillas. In fact, humans and chimpanzees share about 95 percent to 98 percent of the same DNA." To think that hungry but ignorant people eat them as "bush meat" - it's like cannibalism. One way or another, humans are responsible for the apes' destruction, loss of habitat being the main problem. Action to save all the great apes - chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans - will also help to save all the other species that share their forest habitats. Click here to find out about action to save them.