When a 59-year-old dying chimpanzee is visited by her old human friend during her final week, you can see that she is overwhelmed with joy.
Mama has known Jan van Hooff since 1972 when he co-founded the famous chimpanzee colony at the Royal Burgers Zoo in Holland, where she was a former matriarch. Although her colony was the first ever chimp colony to be raised in a zoo, Mama was raised in the wild. Her title in the colony soon became “grand lady” due to her dominant personality.
After van Hooff’s visit, Mama sadly passed away about a week later.
A behavioral scientist who worked with Mama, Frans de Waal, said:
“She will be sorely missed, also by me, because I have rarely seen such an admirable character in both humans and apes.”