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There are many challenges facing animals these days, especially wild animals. Human activities such as logging, poaching, and ever-expanding agriculture have pushed many wild animals to the brink of extinction. Seeing the natural world as little more than an abundant supply of resources and goods, nearly two football fields of forest are destroyed every second across the world. In addition to the physical destruction of the natural world, water and air Pollution, caused by burning fossil fuels and other activities, are causing the pristine wild to degrade at a pace that highly evolved animals cannot adapt to. While there are many people actively profiting from the destruction of the natural world, there are others who work tirelessly to protect and conserve the wild and the animals who call it home.
There are many unsung heroes, all across the globe, who work tirelessly to create a better life for animals in need. They become the voice for the mistreated, the lost and the injured. Working to help rescue animals from poachers, natural disasters and other unfortunate events, there are many organizations who help rehabilitate injured or otherwise vulnerable animals so they can one day return to the wild and thrive.
Here are just a few wonderful stories of animals who have been rescued and released successfully back into the wild!
1. Wounda the Chimp
Dame Jane Goodall began her work studying chimpanzees in Tanzania in 1960. Seventeen year’s later she set up the Jane Goodall Institute which now runs the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo. Here the orphans left behind due to poachers, the bushmeat trade and pet industry are taken care of until they can be released back into the wild.
When Wounda was brought to the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center, she had a very serious illness and had lost so much weight she looked like a walking skeleton. After receiving the care she needed from the rehabilitation center, Wounda made a full recovery and was able to be released back into the wild. On her way back to her jungle home, Wounda stops to give Dr. Goodall a hug. Watch her amazing release below.
2. Suzy and Johnny the Grizzly Bears
The International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW) cares for all animals; wildlife, domestic and livestock. They are there to ensure that animals caught up in disasters are cared for, plus they have many ongoing projects with field offices in more than forty countries. One of these projects is in partnership with the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, rescuing Canada’s endangered Grizzly bear population.
Suzy, the bear cub was found as an orphan in the wild of British Columbia. Johnny was found wandering along the side of a highway after his mother was killed by a semi-truck. Grizzly bear cubs usually stay with their mothers for at least two and a half years, so it was imperative that these two cubs were provided with care.
After spending the winter in the care of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, the cubs were ready for release the following summer. Suzy and Johnny were the first bears released by the project, in 2008. Both were outfitted with tracking collars so the wildlife society could measure how they were adapting back to life in the wild.
Northern Lights Wildlife Society
3. Sampal, Chunsam, and Jedol
One-time dolphin trainer, Ric O’Barry, is now a champion for all cetaceans to be allowed to swim free. These beautiful creatures are not meant to be a source of entertainment for us and suffer terribly in aquariums and marine parks around the world. Ric is also a Director of the Dolphin Project, an organization that advocates for the end of cetacean captivity. The Dolphin Project has successfully orchestrated the release of formerly captive dolphins back into the wild.
Sampal, Chunsam, and Jedol are dolphins who were all being held at a marine park in South Korea. All three had been illegally captured from the wild, making them candidates for release back into the wild. The Dolphin Project helped to rehabilitate the three dolphins from life in a marine park by transferring them to sea pens and weaning them off dead fish before they were released completely.
Watch the release of these three formerly captive dolphins back into Korean waters.
NOTE: As an important note, do not try to help wildlife of any sort unless you are trained. Find a local wildlife rehabber/rescuer or veterinarian ASAP, or call a rescue hotline. Here are some that might help!
Lead image source: Fernando Turmo/Jane Goodall Institute