Woman Banned From Belgian Zoo Over “Relationship” With Chimpanzee

A Belgian woman has been issued a ban by the Antwerp Zoo, because of her close “relationship” with a male chimp that she had been visiting frequently for years.

Adie Timmermans has been visiting Chita, a 38-year-old male chimpanzee, for at least four years, and claims that they’ve developed a very powerful bond that can be described as a “relationship”. However, the animal caretakers at Antwerp Zoo believe this relationship has been causing social problems for Chita within her group of chimps. Because he is so close to Adie, Chita is ignored by the other primates and is not considered part of the pack. To improve his relationship with his own kind, the zoo recently issued a contact ban, forbidding Timmermans from getting too close to Chita’s enclosure, and instructing her to avoid making eye contact with the animal. 

Photo: Zan/Unsplash

“Of course we are happy when our visitors feel so involved with the animals, but animal welfare comes first here,” Sarah Lafaut, curator at the Antwerp Zoo, told ATV. “Outside of visiting hours at the zoo, he has to manage 15 hours in his group. We want to give him the chance to be as happy as possible. 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.”

Adie, on the other hand, considers the contact ban unfair, claiming that she loves Chita and he loves her and that the ban only impacts her, not the other visitors.


I love that animal and he loves me, I haven’t got anything else. Why do they want to take that away?” an emotional Adie Timmermans recently told reporters. “Other dozens of visitors are allowed to make contact. Then why not me?”

“I’ve been a subscriber for four years now. Chita always comes to see me when he sees me. He waves his arms, gives me kisses through the window. What am I doing wrong?” Timmermans asked.


Adie admits that she had received four warnings about her close relationship with Chita, but she just couldn’t stay away from him. Now, if she continues to ignore the warnings, the contact ban might lead to an outright ban from the Antwerp Zoo.

Caretakers explained that Chita’s situation is complicated. He arrived at the zoo 30 years ago as a former personal pet. he was unmanageable for a very long time, but he eventually learned to fit in with the other chimps, but his interest in humans never went away, which is why Adie’s attention is so dangerous in his case.

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