Jane Goodall has had a long and storied career, studying and working with primates for six decades. She is best known for her work with chimpanzees, and it's largely thanks to her field research that we understand as much as we do about their behavior and intelligence.
Goodall has undoubtedly had many notable experiences in her career, but there was one moment caught on video that highlights her extraordinary connection with these animals.
Wounda was a chimpanzee rescued from the bushmeat trade, and when she was brought to the Jane Goodall Institute's Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo, she was half the weight she should have been and near death. (In fact, that's what "Wounda" means—"close to death.")
But thanks to Dr. Rebeca Atencia and the staff at Tchimpounga, Wounda recovered. After rehabilitation, chimps can't go back and live in the wild, but Tchimpounga has some sanctuary islands set aside for rehabbed chimps to live in the forest, safe from attacks and poachers. Wounda was taken to Tchindzoulou island to live with more than a dozen other chimps that had already been released there.
Goodall herself was not part of Wounda's rehabilitation, but she accompanied the team when it came time to release Wounda. She reassured Wounda with a soft voice and kind words on the way to the island, and the two connected immediately, despite it being the first day they met. And when Wounda was released, her expression of gratitude and affection, not only to Dr. Atencia but to Goodall herself, was a sight to behold.
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