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Sick And Old Chimp Is Excited When She Recognizes An Old Friend

  • 2 min read

It is inevitable that every one of us will one day pass away and leave this earth behind.

We can hope that our transition goes smoothly and that when our time comes, we are surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones.

59-year-old is very old for a chimp, and when she reached that age, a chimp named Mama seemed to know that her time was approaching.

As humans, it is often our instinct to hold on to life for as long as we possibly can, but animals seem to have a better sense of when it is their time.

Perhaps it is because they have a greater connection to the earth, but an animal, especially one that has lived a long, full life, will usually accept the end with peace and grace.

Born in the wild around 1957, Mama was brought to the Netherlands from Germany in 1971. She lived at the Royal Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands.

At 59, she had become very weak and was withdrawing from her caretakers.

She refused to eat or drink and was ready to accept whatever was to come next.

Even the colony that she was a part of had accepted her inevitable death and had said goodbye in the manner of chimps.

But, she would receive one more special visitor. A professor named Jan van Hooff had yet to say goodbye.

Van Hooff had known Mama since 1972 and was a co-founder of Mama’s colony at the zoo.

When van Hooff appeared next to the chimp, it took her a moment to recognize his familiar scent and shape.

But, when she did, she surprised everyone. For her friend, she had saved a smile and hug.

I can imagine that there wasn’t a dry eye to be found, and I certainly cried a few tears while watching.

Mama passed away in 2016 as the oldest chimpanzee in captivity in the Netherlands.

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