Woman Banned From Zoo After ‘4-Year Affair’ With Chimpanzee
Adie Timmermans was told she is no longer welcome at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium after zoo officials found her bond with a chimpanzee to be inappropriate.
The chimp, named Chita, came to the zoo nearly 30 years ago. Over the past four years, Adie started visiting the chimp on a weekly basis.
"I love that animal, and he loves me. I haven't got anything else. Why do they want to take that away," Timmermans told Newsweek. "We're having an affair, I'll just say."
According to Newsweek, the 'affair' involved weekly visits in which Adie and the chimp would wave and blow kisses at each other from opposite sides of the glass.
The zoo recently brought up concerns of the two's lengthy relationship, claiming it's negatively impacting Chita's rapport with the zoo's other chimpanzees.
"When Chita is constantly busy with visitors, the other monkeys ignore him and don't consider him part of the group, even though that is important. He then sits on his own outside of visiting hours," the zoo said. "An animal that is too focused on people is less respected by its peers. We want Chita to be a chimpanzee as much as possible."
The zoo told the outlet Chita's fascination with humans is present because he was a pet before he was in the zoo. The zoo decided it was best to separate the two for the well-being of the chimp.
Adie thinks it's a bit unfair, saying "other dozens of visitors are allowed to make contact. Then why not me?" Newsweek reported.
Zookeepers are working to help Chita make friends with the other monkeys.