There are countless stories to show the deep connection that could exist between a wild creature and a human being. They way that many animals entrust the people that use to take care of them, is still inexplicable, but yet extremely heartwarming. Such a powerful bond was between a matriarch chimp and her caretaker.
When Jan van Hooff, an emeritus professor behavioural biology at Utrecht University in Holland, first met Mama, the chimpanzee, the primate was 15-year-old. It happened in 1972, when van Hoof actually founded the chimps colony at the Royal Burgers Zoo in Arnhem. For a short period of time, the professor used to be the colony’s caretaker. Since then, he and Mama, the matriarch of the colony, started ti share a very special friendship. But little did they know, that connection would last until the end of Mama’s days on this Earth.
Back in 2016, Mama – then 59-year-old, was extremely weak as she was filling she’s about to pass away. The old female just sat in her enclosure without interacting with anybody. She even refused to eat. It’s when the staff at the zoo decided to call Jan van Hooff, Mama’s old friend.
What happened next was an extremely touching moment for all there. When van Hoof stepped inside the chimp’s enclosure, she didn’t make any gesture, but when Mama hears her old caretaker’s voice she was completely overwhelmed. Seeing her friend one last time brought her peace she needed. Shortly after that moment, Mama peacefully passed away! Watch the heartbreaking reunion, here: