Chimpanzee cannot hide her joy when seeing an old friend for the last time
Aged 59, Mama was the oldest chimpanzee in Europe and the matriarch of the chimpanzee colony at the Royal Burgers' Zoo in Arnhem, in the Netherlands.
Due to her advanced age, Mama's health had been declining. Weak from illness, she spent her final days lying on a straw bed and refusing to eat.
Jan van Hooff, a Dutch biologist and founder of the chimpanzee colony, had a special relationship with her. "Many people I have given tours to, after lectures and with training courses, have known her," Jan recalled. "When we arrived at the chimpanzee quarters, Mama always came running towards me from the farthest corners to excitedly greet me."
But over time, Jan could clearly see that it was taking Mama more and more effort to come to greet him. During one of his last visits, he even remembered seeing her stumble. That's why Jan decided to pay Mama a final visit when he heard that his old friend was in such bad health.
When Jan entered the enclosure, Mama was lying down in a state of lethargy. After slowly approaching the senior chimpanzee, he began stroking her and trying to help her to eat something. It took Mama a few minutes to raise her head and recognize her visitor, but the chimp's reaction left everyone speechless.
It was an incredible transformation. Suddenly filled with new energy, Mama opened her mouth wide and cried with joy.
Full of emotion, Mama started running her fingers through her old companion's hair. At the end of the video, she even managed to summon up enough strength to hug Jan one last time. It was like she was trying to show Jan that she hadn't forgotten him and that their friendship was more important to her than he could have ever known.
Watch the following video to see this heartfelt meeting...
It was probably the last time the two friends saw each other, as Mama passed away a short time later on April 5, 2016.
The video soon went viral, leaving many people struggling to hold back their tears. Witnessing this touching final meeting should also dispel any doubts about whether chimpanzees can show real signs of affection.