Mark and Becci Crow first learned about the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center and sanctuary from Jane herself. They were inspired to support Africa’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary when Dr. Goodall, giving a keynote speech to the Wildlife Conservation Network, aired a video titled “Wounda’s Journey,” about the orphan chimpanzee Wounda brought to Tchimpounga near death. Becci felt the whole crowd that night was holding back sobs for Wounda; when she looked at her husband after the film, they both knew in that instant that they had to help.
The Crows admired Jane’s 80th birthday wish – to move all rehabilitated chimps at Tchimpounga to nearby islands where they could live their lives as if they had been released back into the wild, but safe under Tchimpounga staff’s watch and care. Mark and Becci pledged to donate to this cause the very night they heard Jane speak, and they were invited to her 80th birthday party a few months later to join in celebrating Jane on achieving her birthday wish. The Crows’ hopes were fulfilled: the funds were all in. Wounda would be moving to her new home.
A year later, the couple got to travel to Tchimpounga and see for themselves Wounda’s progress. Becci felt touched to see not only how Wounda had recovered from her near-death state of arrival at Tchimpounga, but had risen to be one of the alpha females of her group. And for Becci, Wounda’s success was not the result of luck, but of concerted efforts by Tchimpounga staff to make each and every orphan that arrives at Tchimpounga as energetic, vibrant, and happy as the Wounda that Becci witnessed.
Mark explains he is happy not only to watch Wounda’s progress, but to be able to contribute to Tchimpounga with the love of his life, Becci. “This is something I wanted us to do together,” he said. Mark’s heart is big, and it overflows with appreciation for Jane as well. “I just want to thank her from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “I really appreciate all that she has done for us and for chimpanzees.”
When trying to pinpoint why they feel so connected to the rescued chimps which they have helped to give a new home, Becci explains it best: “Despite the fact they were orphaned under horrific conditions, they retain the capacity to reach out to other human beings. They still have the compassion to touch and care and want to be touched and cared for by each other. I learned this from them, and they make me a human being.”