Zoo Bans Woman From Seeing Chimpanzee After 4-Year-Long 'Affair'
It’s hard to find a good man these days — and just as hard to find a good chimp, apparently.
At least, that’s the case for a Belgian woman who was left heartbroken after a local zoo banned her from visiting the park’s chimpanzee exhibit due to her “affair” with one of the primates.
Over the past four years, Adie Timmermans developed a close bond with a chimp named Chita, who arrived at the Antwerp Zoo 30 years ago. According to local station ATV, the woman visited the animal every week, and the pair would regularly wave and blow kisses to each other from opposite sides of the glass surrounding the chimp’s enclosure.
But sadly, the two grew too close for the zoo’s liking — so Adie was permanently banned from seeing her chimp-friend. Needless to say, gurl was pretty beaten up about it. She told ATV:
“I love that animal, and he loves me. I haven’t got anything else. Why do they want to take that away. We’re having an affair, I’ll just say.”
As for why the two were torn apart? The zoo claims that Chita’s relationship with Adie is negatively impacting his relationships with his fellow chimpanzees.
A rep for the zoo explained in a statement that Chita’s well-being could suffer if his relationship with a human continues, and that it just wants the animal to be “happy,” sharing:
“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… Outside of visiting hours at the zoo, he has to manage 15 hours in his group. We want to give him the chance to be as happy as possible.”
The spokesperson added that the other chimps will exclude Chita if has too much contact with humans, adding:
“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.”
In an interview with Radio 2 Antwerp, the zoo’s curator Sarah Lafaut explained that Chita’s so fascinated with humans in the first place because he was a pet before joining the facility. She shared:
“Of course we are happy when our visitors feel so involved with the animals, but animal welfare comes first here. Chita was brought to the zoo 30 years ago because he was a pet at the time and became unmanageable. He learned chimpanzee behavior with us, but the interest in humans has remained.”
Moving forward, zookeepers will be helping Chita learn to interact more with his fellow primates.
Despite the zoo’s good intentions, however, Timmermans thinks she’s being singled out. She told press:
“Other dozens of visitors are allowed to make contact. Then why not me?”
We know it hurts, gurl — but if you really love someone, sometimes you have to let them go.
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