An animal behaviorist recently received all the thanks she ever needed when the laboratory chimps she rescued 25 years ago remembered her. Linda Koebner was greeted with “welcome back” hugs when she returned to Florida to visit them.
More than two decades ago, Linda had been one of the carers who taught laboratory chimps released from a hepatitis research facility how to be free and live in the wild where they were meant.
After she founded a non profit chimpanzee sanctuary called Chimp Haven in Louisiana, Linda spent four years teaching them how to live.
When she returned to their “island”, the reunion was caught on camera and captured in the documentary The Wisdom of the Wild. In the video, Koebner is shown taking a boat over to the area where the chimps now live.
Amazingly, as she gets close to the area, one of the chimps rushes over to greet her.
“Do you remember me?” Linda asked.
One chimp named Swing, reaches out a hand to her and suddenly a huge smile comes across his face.
Within moments, another chimp named Doll runs over; they all embrace – Linda’s eyes fill up with happy tears.
“Chimpanzees have provided us so much in this world, Koebner said in the film.”So much knowledge about ourselves, about our social lives, about our dispositions, because they are so much like us as beings.”
According to Mail Online, the chimps, when finally released from their cages after being held captive as laboratory experiments, had no idea what to do; nor did they have a clue about loving the outdoors where the chimps ultimately belonged.
They had never experienced walking on grass nor what the wind and sun felt or looked like. All they would do would be to huddle together in fear at the doorway refusing to move.
And now they are free!
Experiments with chimps ceased in the last two years when the animals who share 98.8% of human DNA were placed on the endangered species list.
(Photos and YouTube of chimps remembering their rescuer 25 years later via The Wisdom of the Wild)
Check out the video and don’t forget to have your tissues handy for your tears of joy: