Mama, a 59-year-old chimpanzee, became terminally ill and began refusing food and water in her dying days. Then, Professor Jan van Hooff, an old friend of hers, came to pay his respects and visit with her one last time. The emotional moment was caught on film, showing Mama’s delight as she spent time with her former caretaker.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Mama, who had been curled up in a ball, smiled widely when she recognized her former caretaker, who she had known since 1972, had stopped by for a visit.
At first, Mama did not realize who had entered her enclosure and continued with her unresponsive behavior that had begun after she fell ill.
It wasn’t until Professor van Hooff began stroking her that she made the connection.
Mama screeched in delight and began reaching for the professor, stroking his head with her hand. The heartfelt moment was filmed in April 2016.
Previously, Mama had been the matriarch of the colony. During the video, she can be seen refusing food and water, a visual reminder of the seriousness of her condition.
Professor an Hooff had co-founded the chimp colony at the Royal Burgers Zoo, Arnhem, located in the Netherland’s.
Just a week after the visit from Professor van Hooff, Mama passed away.