As the lifeforce slowly drained from 59-year-old Mama, the chimpanzee wante nothing more than to be left alone and pass away in peace. It was a very sad scene to watch for poeple who had cared for her over the years.
Mam was born in the wild around 1957, arriving to her now home in the Netherlands from Germany in 1971. She has resided in the Royal Burger’s Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands since.
She was always quiet a hand full according to carers and zoologists, full of mischief and trickery. It was not long before she established herself as the dominant female (dominant matriarch) in the chimp colony. Visitors to the zoo loved her personality and she was by far the most popular chimp the zoo ever had.
The once proud chimp now laying there, refusing all offers of food or water. She knew her time was near an end, as did her colony who had all showed her their respect and said their goodbyes.
It seemed like mama was waiting for someone who had not yet said their goodbye. The man who founded the chimp colony and had known Mama since 1972. Professor Jan Van Hoff had worked with the chimps since the colony was first established, he had a very unique bond with Mama.
A week prior he had visited a weak and thinly shadow of the chimp he had once know, she struggled to recognize her old friend’s presence.
But as he began speaking softly to her in tones she was once familiar to and stroking her shoulder and offering her some food, Mama began to realise who he was.
She began to recognize the familiar scent, the sound of his voice, and inquisitively, Mama turned her head. The recollections of their friendship came flooding back, and a passionate and energized Mama could barely contain herself; below.
Her mouth opened into a gigantic smile and she talked, lifting her arm to her cherished friend’s head. The two old companions grasped, bringing a tear to eyes of everyone on the internet.
Van Hooff’s visit was without a moment to spare, as Mama passed away due to old age in April 2016. The zoo grieved the loss of the one of its most loved and cherished chimpanzee’s. She was in fact the oldest chimp to live in captivity in the Netherlands.
“Mama was the ‘grand lady’ of the chimpanzee colony,” behavioral scientist Frans de Waal told the NL Times. “She had an exceptionally strong and dominant personality, so that no man who wanted to come to power could do so around her.”
“She also brought consolation when there were tensions and mediated conflicts,” de Waal continued. “She will be sorely missed.”
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