59-Year-Old Terminally Ill Chimp Dies Days After An Emotional Reunion With An Old Friend

Date March 23, 2018

The Royal Burgers Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands, lost one of its most remarkable chimpanzees named Mama in 2016. But, just before Mama's death, she was reunited with an old friend, Professor Jan van Hooff.

Jan A R A M van Hooff / YouTube

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A final reunion with Professor Hooff

Mama and Professor Hooff first met in 1972, a year after the chimp, fondly called 'grand lady', was relocated to the Netherlands zoo, after living most of her life in a German zoo. Hooff was in charge of organizing the colony Mama called home. He clearly made a lasting impression on the chimp.

Jan A R A M van Hooff / YouTube

When at 59 the terminally ill Mama struggled to stay alive during her last days, an unexpected visit from her dear friend brought her back to life momentarily.

Jan A R A M van Hooff / YouTube

As soon as Hooff approached and stroked her, she immediately recognized him and became active.

The display was a rare sight for the once dominant chimp whose strong personality had given her control over the colony in her prime.

Mama's death

Mama died about a week after her dear friend's visit, in April 2016. Reports claim that she was in good spirits during her last days. At the time of her death, she was the oldest chimp in both the Netherlands and Europe.

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Mama's daughter, Monique, and a much younger female chimp, Geisha, whom she adopted after her mother died 15 years ago, had a hard time letting go.

Geisha reportedly kept touching and smelling Mama's body.

Park manager Wineke Schoo told De Gelderlander that the 59-year-old chimp would be missed for her friendliness and ability to mediate problems.

Remembering Sudan

The world recently lost another remarkable animal. Sudan was the last male Northern white rhino. He died at 45, leaving behind a daughter and granddaughter.

All efforts to get Sudan to mate naturally had proved abortive, leading officials at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy to get his genetic material for a possible in vitro fertilization process. According to officials, the continuation of the white rhino specie depends on the success of the IVF procedure.

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