Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The chimps never forgot what this woman did. They were reunited after 18 years apart.


Environmental activist, Linda Koebner has always fought for the protection of animals on this planet. When the American woman was just 23 years old and still a student, she led a pioneering project to free six chimpanzees that had spent their lives in an animal testing lab.
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At that time, it was common practice to kill animals after they were no longer used for testing. Koebner fought to give them a chance to live in a massive outdoor enclosure, returning a shred of dignity to the chimps' lives.
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Unfortunately, it wasn't an option to return them to the wild seeing as they had been born in captivity and spent their early years in cages. One of the female chimps also required regular medical treatments. But Linda watched with delight as the timid animals smelled fresh grass for the first time and were able to move freely.
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She took it upon herself to feed one of the sick animals everyday with a bottle and spent a lot of time with her hairy friends to help them adjust to life outside a tiny cage.
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But then came the time for Linda to say goodbye. The animals had to learn to live as independently as possible. Even though it was very difficult for her, Linda left the chimps and returned to her studies. The project she had started was a huge success: The animals multiplied and became one large family unit, supporting each other in their recovery from the testing.
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Some 18 years later, Linda went to visit her chimpanzee companions. Two of the original six that she had rescued were still alive. But she approached the reunion knowing that her cuddly friends were now wild animals with powerful jaws and teeth that could be dangerous. She doubted whether the two female chimps, Doll and Swing, would even remember her, even though she could never forget the beautiful, affectionate animals.
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As Linda approached the stream that served as a boundary to the enclosure, she imitated the sounds that chimpanzees use as a greeting.
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Linda immediately recognized Doll and Swing, and the pair also noticed the person standing on the other side of the water. As Linda got in a boat to reach them, the two chimps began to run towards her.
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"Remember me?" Linda asked the animals as she neared the other side. Then something incredible happened: The chimpanzee reached her fingers out and pulled the woman into her arms.
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There was no doubt that Doll and Swing absolutely knew that they were hugging the woman who had saved their lives so many years before. They would never act this way with strangers.
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Linda was speechless. Nearly two decades later and almost nothing had changed between them.
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Even though Doll and Swing couldn't speak, it was obvious that they felt great affection for Linda.
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Linda will always be a member of their family, regardless of the time they spent apart. Linda was overcome with tears as she reconnected with her old friends and was overjoyed about them both developing so wonderfully. Here is a video of their emotional reunion:

Linda always knew that her hard work was making a difference for these animals. What a beautiful sign of hope that these two chimps, who have suffered so much at the hands of humans, can still trust Linda.
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