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

A Belgian woman is banned from attending a zoo in Belgium after being accused of having an affective relationship detrimental to the socialization of a chimpanzee. “I love that animal and it loves me,” Adie Timmermans told ATV of her banishment.

As shown in some images, the woman and the male chimpanzee, called Chita, have been blowing kisses and sharing attention weekly for the past four years. The woman became attached to the primate and considers the ban, valid since last Thursday (19), an absurdity. “I don’t have anything else, why did they want to take this away from me?” she tells, in tears, to Belgian TV.

According to the zoo, the relationship between the human and the primate harms the chimpanzee’s social life, as the other animals in the group started to ignore him when he began to relate to Timmermans and other visitors.

“When Chita is constantly surrounded by visitors, the other animals ignore him and don’t consider him part of the group,” explains zoo caretaker Sarah Lafault, who still says the animal is excluded from the captive group for about 15 hours a day. .

However, this process is unlikely to be reversed, as the chimpanzee spent more than half its life being raised as a domestic animal before being delivered to the zoo.

In 2008, for example, the primate was involved in a violent fight with other male monkeys in captivity. As a result, Chita likes people but not monkeys.