In so many ways, animals — especially primates — are very much like us. They feel emotions, they fear for their safety, and they have a capacity to love — even if just their own offsprings. These traits acknowledged (and confirmed by science), it is mind-boggling why humans continue to treat animals as if they are inferior. For those who need a reminder of just how precious other creatures are, continue reading this article and be sure to watch the video below.
In April of 2016, a 59-year-old chimpanzee named Mama was on her deathbed. According to LaughingSquid, she refused food and lay motionless for days. Then one day, her former caretaker, Jan van Hooff, stopped by for a visit.
Mama was a matriarch of the chimpanzee colony of the Royal Burgers Zoo in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Reportedly, she had known van Hooff since the formation of the colony in 1972. To say their reunion was emotional — and a bit heartbreaking — is an understatement.
When van Hooff introduced herself to Mama, it took a few minutes for the chimp to recognize her friend. But then, she reached out to embrace van Hooff, an extraordinary smile plastered across her face. This effort took a great deal of energy, but it conveyed how special van Hooff was to the primate. Sadly, Mama passed away one week later.
Wrote van Hooff in the description of the video that follows:
“Mama, 59 years old and the oldest chimpanzee and the matriarch of the famous chimpanzee colony of the Royal Burgers Zoo in Arnhem, the Netherlands, was gravely ill. Jan van Hooff (emeritus professor behavioural biology at Utrecht University and co-founder of the Burgers colony) who has known Mama since 1972, visited her in the week before she died of old age in april 2016. It took a while before she became aware of Jan’s presence. Her reaction was extremely emotional and heart-breaking. Mama played an important social role in the colony. This has been described in ‘Chimpanzee Politics’ by Frans de Waal, who studied the colony since 1974.”
Watch the heart-wrenching footage below:
For understandable reasons, the video has been viewed nearly 3 million times. Perhaps this is because man/woman-kind is recognizing that humans aren’t at the top of the food chain but rather, part of the ecosystem that thrives as a result of collaboration and symbiosis.