Jan van Hooff, professor emeritus of behavioral biology at the University of Utrecht and co-founder of the Burgers colony, has known the Mama chimpanzee since 1972. He was his guardian and they became friends for life.
So when the life of the 59-year-old chimpanzee came to an end, Hooff made sure to visit him and say goodbye. Mama was the oldest chimpanzee and matriarch of the chimpanzee colony at the Royal Burgers Zoo in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
She would have played an important social role in the colony, a phenomenon described by Frans de Waal as “chimpanzee policy”.
Mom being seriously ill, Hooff came to visit him about a week before his death.
Mom was very old and did not feel well at all. She refused to eat or drink and remained motionless in the fetal position.
She was in a very lethargic state but eventually, she realized that Hooff was there.
His reaction to seeing his old friend was incredibly comforting.
His face burst into a giant smile when Hooff called his name. She screamed for joy at her friend’s sight and grabbed her hand.
She just smiled and cooed and stroked her head. The look on his face was so beautiful.
She just smiled and looked up into the eyes and patted her on the back of her head. She reached out to hug him.
Once she realized he was there, she immediately remembered Hooff and was so happy to see him. Chimpanzees can quickly identify the faces of humans and other chimpanzees, according to Live Science.
“Both humans and chimpanzees have developed a specialized ability in the treatment of the face,” Masaki Tomonaga, primatologist and scientist in Comparative Cognitive Science at the Institute of Primate Research at Kyoto University, told Live Science Japan. “This implies that the face plays a very important social role in both species. These results are quite suggestive when we consider the evolution of social intelligence. Both species can use facial information for their social life in the same way. ”
But Mom had only too much energy to spend.
Finally, she became tired again and had to go back to bed.
But the visit to her old friend certainly comforted her in her last days. Watch the video below to see Mom’s comforting reaction to seeing Hooff again.
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