Belgium Zoo Romance Between Chimpanzee and Woman Ends

  • Sad but true, this love just couldn't go on.

It may be 2021 this year, but it sure feels like 2020 part two. People aren’t getting any less weird either, and this story about the chimpanzee and woman illustrates that well.

This is a love story between a chimpanzee and woman, if you think you’ve heard it all. The managers of the Belgium store ruled that this relationship had to end. 

Chita, a 38-year-old chimpanzee, and Adie Timmermans were meeting weekly as Timmerman’s was a long-standing visitor at Antwerp Zoo. She has been visiting Chita for years, but the zoo said that it would no longer be allowed. 

Timmerman’s pleaded for a change of heart, arguing that the two would be distraught if separated. 

“I love that animal and he loves me,” she said. “I haven’t got anything else. Why do they want to take that away?”

“We’re having an affair, I’ll just say,” Adie said. “Other dozens of visitors are allowed to make contact. Then why not me?”

Visits up until now have involved blowing kisses and waving through the glass of Chita’s enclosure.

The zoo told Zimmerman, “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. Outside of visiting hours at the zoo, he has to manage 15 hours [a day] in his group. We want to give him the chance to be as happy as possible.”

According to the zoo spokesperson, the other chimpanzees exclude him when he has contact with humans. “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,” said the spokesperson.

Curator Sarah Lafaut of the Antwerp Zoo said, “Of course we are happy when our visitors feel so involved with the animals, but animal welfare comes first here.” 

“Chita was brought to the zoo 30 years ago because he was a pet at the time and became unmanageable. He learned chimpanzee behavior with us, but the interest in humans has remained,” explains Lafaut.