A woman has found herself in love with a chimpanzee living at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium, and subsequently banned from the chimp’s home. Zoo officials think the woman’s behavior will negatively affect his ability to socialize with his own kind.
“I love that animal and he loves me,” Adie Timmermans reportedly said to regional news channel ATV, as transcribed by LADBible.
Timmermans, who was visibly upset when talking to the Belgian media (proof in the video above), says she’s been visiting with the chimp, whose name is Chita, every week for four years.
These visits reportedly saw the two blowing kisses and waving at one another through the primate enclosure glass.
Timmermans thinks Chita feels the same way about her as she does about him.
Not surprisingly people who work at the zoo had taken notice, and they’ve subsequently stepped in because Chitah has been getting rejected by his ape comrades.
“When Chita is constantly surrounded by visitors, the other animals ignore him and don’t consider him part of the group,” said zoo curator Sarah Lafaut to ATV.
“An animal that is too focused on people is less respected by its peers. We want Chita to be a chimpanzee as much as possible.”
Being cast out by his fellow apes can result in Chita being by himself when humans aren’t at the park, which is a major issue since there are 15 hours per day that are outside of visiting hours.
“When Chita is constantly busy with visitors, the other monkeys ignore him and don’t consider him part of the group, even though that is important. He then sits on his own outside of visiting hours,” said a zoo spokesperson.
Timmermans remains devastated over being booted from the zoo.
“I haven’t got anything else,” she reportedly said. “Why do they want to take that away?’”
She finds the zoo eviction unfair because other visitors can still interact with Chita.
Regardless of the zoo’s action, it’s possible the damage is already done. Zoo officials have stated their belief that Chita will never be accepted into the chimps’ community because he started interacting with humans since he was very young.
Researchers say chimps raised by people can have trouble getting along with other chimps, and that their ensuing social issues from that kind of upbringing can last decades when no longer in captivity.
Related to Chita’s situation, he was a young chimp who was given to a wildlife facility when he matured to the point of becoming unmanageable for his owners. The Antwerp zoo says he’s learned “chimpanzee behavior” but that he remains interested in people.