When 23-year-old Linda Koebner was in grad school, laws protecting animals from experiments were not as strict as they are today. Because of this, many lab chimpanzees were slowly being released back into the wild at that time, no longer needed in the scientific labs. Unfortunately, because they had been locked up in dark cages their entire lives, they were not yet prepared to fend for themselves. This is when Linda Koebner stepped in to help, having no idea that what she was about to do would change her life forever.
Honored with the incredible job of releasing them into the wild for the first time in six years, she couldn’t wait to get started. Her task would prove to be much trickier than simply opening their cages. Not only were they frightened and confused, but the chimpanzees had no idea how to survive on their own.
Linda spent four years watching over two of the apes named Doll and Swing. Finally, they were ready to be set free. She said her tearful goodbyes, never forgetting the incredible animals she had grown to love over the years. It wasn’t until 18 years after their release that Linda decided to check back in with her surrogate babies. She didn’t think they would recognize her after nearly two decades, but it didn’t take long for something absolutely incredible to take place. Watch as Doll and Swing recognize the woman who saved their lives, after 18 long years apart. What an incredible moment caught on tape!