59-Year-Old Dying Chimpanzee Recognizes Her Old Caretaker’s Voice And Has Heartbreakingly Beautiful Reaction

Chimpanzees are intelligent animals that in many ways resemble humans, and there may even be links between chimpanzees and humans. Watch how this emotional reunion between the animal and its former caretaker shows an unusual but important friendship.


Chimpanzees are a lot like people.

We recognize that they are both smart and emotionally intelligent. A chimpanzee can make and use tools, learn languages and communicate with signs and symbols. All of these qualities endear them to humans.


Chimpanzees also have self-awareness.

They recognize their belonging to a group. They also seem to recognize when they are dying and when their time is up

At the Royal Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands, a 59-year-old chimpanzee called Mama was dying. She had refused the food and water given to her by the zookeepers. She would not move.


The keepers were certain that she would die soon.

As a last-ditch effort, they called one of her former caretakers, Professor Van Hooff. He did not hesitate to go to the zoo. The zoo staff took him to their paddock. She did not move at first.

Once Professor Van Hooff started to speak, Mama began to rouse herself.


Mama remembered her friend’s voice. She vocalized back to him.

Although Mama had lost all of her teeth, she gave her friend a lot of big smiles.

Mom could not come up, but she held out one of her long thin arms to kiss her friend. She patted her friend’s back and shoulder and touched her hair.


Once Professor Van Hooff started to speak, Mama began to rouse herself.


Professor Van Hooff stroked Mama’s arm and patted her head as he talked to her. She continued to make vocalizations as if they were having a conversation. He even got her to take a small nibble of food, which the zookeepers had been unable to do.

Professor Van Hooff and the zookeepers were overcome with emotion.

This interaction is a clear demonstration that chimpanzees feel a sense of love, friendship and devotion to those who have been kind to them. After all of those years apart, Mama remembered her friend. Mama died just one week after the visit from Professor Van Hooff.

The zookeepers were happy that she got to have a sort of goodbye with her former caregiver.

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