53-year-old Adie was still allowed to visit the zoo, but her weekly visits to the 38-year-old chimp were restricted. All she could do was briefly pass by without any eye contact.
Adie was devastated. She told regional TV: “The animal loves me and I love him. It’s all I’ve got in life. Why are they taking this away from me?”
The zoo threatened to ban Adie entirely if she did not comply with the restrictions. Despite numerous warnings Adie continued to visit her beloved chimp.
“We repeatedly asked the woman to stay away” says the zoo. “We have now written to her telling her her season ticket would not be renewed and that she would not be allowed into Antwerp Zoo”.
The zoo is taking the decision in the interest of general chimp well-being. Adie’s relationship with Chita was causing friction in the group.
Antwerp Zoo points to ape dynamics. Groups of monkeys possess a group dynamic that is virtually identical to that of human beings. Groups of monkeys also have their hierarchies. A member of the group that has more or too many contacts with humans courts disrespect from other chimps. The zoo was worried that Adie could unbalance the fragile group dynamic of the chimps in its care.