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Dying Chimpanzee Beams with Delight Recognizing Old Caretaker

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Mama, a 59-year-old chimpanzee from the Netherland’s Royal Burgers Zoo, is the matriarch of a colony and she is dying.

Last April 2016, she was near the end of her life and constantly refused to eat food she was given. But former caretaker, Professor Jan van Hooff, paid his last visit and the dying chimp seemed to bounce back to her old self upon recognizing him.

Mama was part of the exceptional scientific study and analysis revolving around primates and their evolutionary habits. The study was published by Dutch primatologist and author Frans de Waal in his book, Chimpanzee Politics.

Upon hearing that the matriarch was in her last days, the colony’s co-founder and behavioral biology Professor  van Hooff paid his final visit. The video of the dying primate who was weak and unable to eat can be seen huddled among a haystack.

She was being spoon fed by her caretakers but refuses to take them as the video shows how she shooed the food with her lips. The chimps last moments were captured on video and Bored Panda featured the news in their website.

Professor van Hooff came in crouching beside the dying chimp. At first she didn’t seem to realize who was beside her, but upon recognizing the voice of her former caretaker, she radiated with joy.

The several moments where Mama seemed to be accepting her fate and the crucial moment where she realized who was beside her will bring tears to anyone’s eyes.

This just goes to show how indelible the bond between man and animals can be. Instantly realizing her former caretaker, the dying primate clung to her old friend like she was saying, “Farewell!”

Professor van Hooff and Mama have shared a deep connection since 1972 when the former caretaker was in charge of the budding colony.

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