Dr. Rebeca Atencia – Hope is Sanctuary and Second Chances for Every Individual (Jane Goodall Hopecast #14)


Episode Summary

In this episode, Dr. Jane Goodall is joined by Dr. Rebeca Atencia, someone she deeply respects and has been working with for over 16 years. Dr. Atencia is the Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute in the Republic of Congo and Manager/Head veterinarian at JGI’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center, one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries in Africa. Jane thinks of her, “the mother of the chimpanzees of Tchimpounga,” a sanctuary that has housed hundreds of rescued chimpanzees, all victims of the illegal pet and bushmeat trade in the region. In the episode, Rebeca shares about how she became inspired to rescue wildlife as a young child in Spain when she encountered a dedicated ranger saving baby animals from a forest fire. Jane and Rebeca weave together how their individual experiences led them to cross paths in a forest in the Congo, and how much Jane recognizes aspects of herself in Rebeca. Today, Rebeca embodies Jane’s passion and respect for every individual animal and is helping to carry forward Jane’s lifelong mission to ensure the dignity and quality of life for great apes, in the wild and in captivity. During the conversation, Rebeca shares an incredible story of a time when a chimpanzee did something remarkable that saved her life. Ultimately, the two talk about how they find hope in the people doing the work of rehabilitation, rescue, and advocacy today, and why these innately valuable, sentient, and complex beings are so worth fighting for. 

At the End of the Rainbow

Stay to the end of the episode to hear a rare archival clip of Dr. Goodall describing the profound moment she saw Dr. Rebeca Atencia save the life of the critically wounded chimpanzee, Wounda, and perform the first (known) ever chimp-to-chimp blood transfusion in Africa.

Read this Episode’s Full Transcript

Stay tuned…Episode 15 features Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson marine biologist, policy expert, author & writer ‘All We Can Save’, founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, founder of Urban Ocean Lab.

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About Author

Scientist. Activist. Storyteller. Icon. Jane Goodall blazed the trail and changed the world. Now, she's studying new subjects – humans! This brand-new podcast will take listeners on a one-of-a-kind journey as they learn from Dr. Goodall's extraordinary life, hear from changemaking guests from every arena, and become awed by a growing movement sparked by Jane and fueled by hope. Join us as we get curious, grow compassion, and take action to build a better world for all. As we face some of the greatest challenges to humankind and the natural world, we have a unique opportunity: the power of technology to connect and share ideas. Now is the time to galvanize people around Jane’s message of hope in action and bring big thinkers together to change hearts and minds alike. The Jane Goodall Hopecast is produced by the Jane Goodall Institute by Dan DuPont, Shawn Sweeney, and Ashley Sullivan. Our production partner is FRQNCY Media. Michelle Khouri is our executive producer, Enna Garkusha is our producer, and Matthew Ernest Filler is our editor and sound designer. Our music is composed and performed by Ruth Mendelson with additional violin tracks from Angie Shyr. Sound design and music composition for the Conservation Chorus is by Matthew Ernest Filler.