Mama the chimpanzee had a wonderful life. When she was dying, one of her old human friends came to visit, and they had a sentimental last meeting.
The Royal Burgers Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands firstly took in a colony of chimpanzees in 1972. One of the founders of the program to start this colony was Jan Van Hooff.
He got the opportunity of getting to know all of the first generation of chimps.
But he was specifically close to Mama. He was assigned to look after her, and they soon became best buddies.
The colony turned into a huge success. Mama and all of the other chimps were super happy animals. And they were producing a lot of healthy young babies.
Shortly after, Jan Van Hooff became a professor at Utrecht University. It would take him away from the chimpaznees that he had learned and grown to love.
But he would visit Mama and the others pretty often.
For many years, Mama and Jan Van Hooff thrived as a matriarch of the colony and a professor, respectively.
But after some time, at the age of 59, Mama’s health started declining. The vets at the zoo realized that she didn’t have a long time left to live.
Fortunately, the workers at the zoo let Van Hooff know of Mama’s condition. He spoke to the University staff, and they allowed him to leave in ordee to say goodbye to one of his oldest friends.
And so, with a sad heart, he made the journey to the zoo.
When Van Hooff saw his old friend one more time, he was destroyed . Mama wasn’t eating or drinking. Instead, she was just lying in a fetal ball.
The zoo workers said that the chimp might not recognize Van Hooff, but the man was fully determined to talk to her anyway.
And so he went up to Mama and said hello.
Van Hooff went near her and said Mama’s name. The animal was undoubtedly very ill. It took her a second to come around, but slowly she was roused.
Van Hooff was able to successfully feed the chimp a treat, which no one else had managed to do in the last couple of days.
Then Mama looked up at Van Hooff and gave the man a gigantic grin. It was obvious that she was so happy to see her oldest friend one last time.
Mama started stroking Van Hooff’s hair. When she had first met Van Hooff, his hair was a dark brown color. Now it was grey. They had both grown up. But during this particular moment, it was just like the old times.
Van Hooff was luckily able to continue feeding Mama. The animal had a vitality that she had been lacking in recent days.
For hours, Van Hooff stayed in Mama’s company. But unfortunately, in the end, Mama’s energy was all disappeared and she fell asleep again.
Sad, Van Hooff said goodbye to Mama for the last time.
After a week, Mama passed away. But, she had lived an amazing life in the zoo.
She started a large, loving family. And most importantly, she had made a lot of human friends.
Later on, Van Hooff posted the footage of his final meeting with Mama to his YouTube channel.
The video has gone viral, being able to receive almost 11 million views to date. It has also gathered more than 25,000 likes and 1,800 comments. People have been saying things like this:
This is indeed a heartbreaking video. But it’s important to remember that thanks to Van Hooff and others, Mama had an amazing life.