“I love that animal, and he loves me,” says Belgian woman banned from zoo over lengthy affair with chimpanzee
Antwerp Zoo in Belgium has banned a woman, Adie Timmermans, from having further contact with a chimpanzee named Chita.
The zoo took the action to cut off the close relationship she had formed with the primate, an “affair” zookeepers deemed detrimental to Chita’s rapport with the zoo’s other chimpanzees.
Although Chita was brought to the zoo over 30 years ago, in the last four years Timmermans had visited the park’s chimpanzee exhibit religiously every week.
Each time she visited, Newsweek reported, the primate and woman waved and blowed kisses to each other from opposite sides of the glass surrounding the ape’s enclosure.
It was this “affair” that the zookeepers considered unhealthy for Chita.
“I love that animal, and he loves me. I haven’t got anything else. Why do they want to take that away?” Timmermans queried.
In a statement, the zoo explained its decision to ban Timmermans from accessing the chimpanzee exhibit.
“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.
“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,” a zoo spokesperson said.
However, Timmermans rejected the decision, describing it as unfair.
“Other dozens of visitors are allowed to make contact. Then why not me?” she asked.