Chimpanzees and humans share plenty of physical qualities and personality traits. From their sense of family to powerful memories, there are more things that make us similar than people realize.
One chimpanzee, a 60-year-old female named Mama, lived a life that most rescued chimps would dream of. She was the matriarch of her group within the Royal Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands, and commanded the respect of everyone who crossed her path!
One person who got to form a bond with Mama over the years was a professor named Jan van Hooff. Jan spent countless hours with Mama when she was youngster and was devastated to hear that her health had declined dramatically.
According to the zoo staff, Mama was refusing to eat and drink! This behavior was common for chimps who were close to passing away, and at 59 years old, it was clear her time was coming to an end.
While the zoo staff and Mama’s primate family members were able to say goodbye, Jan was the only one left who hadn’t stopped by for a visit. As soon as he heard about Mama’s declining condition, he rushed to the zoo.
He needed to say goodbye to the chimp he had known for years! It took Mama a few minutes to realize who was standing in her pen, but as soon as Jan began to whisper her name, she lifted her head and showed a big smile!
It was clear to everyone that Mama recognized her old friend and was thrilled he was there with her. Jan gently rubbed Mama’s back and arm to rouse her.
Thankfully Jan was there to say goodbye just in the nick of time!
Watch their heartwarming interaction for yourself in the video below.