Woman banned from zoo for affectionate relationship with chimpanzee: ‘He loves me’

A woman was banned from visiting a male chimpanzee at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium. According to authorities, Adie Timmermans’ relationship with the animal is not healthy for him to socialize with other chimpanzees.

“I love that animal and it loves me,” Adie told Belgian channel ATV. According to the woman, during the past four years, she would have visited the chimpanzee, called Chita, weekly and stated that she lived a real “relationship” with the animal.

During visits, the two sent kisses and waved to each other separated only by a glass, which surrounds the animal’s enclosure in the zoo. For, Adie their attraction to the chimpanzee was mutual.

However, the zoo decided to end the supposed relationship. “When Chita is constantly surrounded by visitors, the other animals ignore him and don’t consider him part of the group,” zoo curator Sarah Lafaut explained to ATV.

According to Sarah, the animal supposedly spends 15 hours – outside of human visiting hours – completely alone as a result of its banishment. “An animal that is very focused on people is less respected by its peers. We want Chita to be a chimpanzee as much as possible,” he said.

The location decision was a disappointment to Adie: “I don’t have anything else. Why do they want to take this away?” he asked. Despite the measure, some zoo officials do not believe that Chita will ever be able to reintegrate into chimpanzee society, as her exposure to humans began very early.

Cheetah was raised from a puppy as a pet and was donated to the wildlife facility when he was about 30 years old. He has been at the zoo for eight years and has been seriously injured in a fight with other male chimpanzees.

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