A chimp-loving Belgian woman has been banned from entering a zoo in Antwerp after officials declared her relationship with a male chimpanzee unhealthy for the primate’s socialization with other animals.
Adie Timmermans told Belgian channel ATV that she’s in love with the animal and that he loves her.
Timmermans had been reportedly visiting Chita, the male chimp, every week for over four years.
The two ‘lovers’ reportedly blew kisses at each other through the plexiglass of the animal’s enclosure.
Zoo officials pulled the plug on the ‘affair’ after noticing that Chitah was being shunned by his fellow primates.
Zoo spokesperson Sarah Lafaut said that the other chimps had ignored Chitah to the point wherein he has been banished and utterly alone outside of human visiting hours.
Chita needs to reacclimate himself with the other chimps as much as possible, Lafaut explained.
Belgian Woman Banned from Zoo After 4-Year 'Affair' with Chimpanzee https://t.co/CjZSuWoblw— People (@people) August 24, 2021
“I don’t have anybody else,” a devastated Timmermans said about her banishment from the zoo.
Unfortunately, the ban may ultimately prove futile: Zoo officials don’t think that Chita will ever be able to re-integrate into chimp society as his exposure to humans began at an early age.
As a result, Chita is very friendly with people to the detriment of his relationship with his kind. He was even seriously injured during a 2008 fight with other male chimps.
Indeed, researchers from Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo have found that chimpanzees raised by humans had difficulties integrating with other chimps with social deficiencies lasting for decades after their release from captivity.