A regular visitor at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium has been prohibited from seeing her favorite chimpanzee.
The ban is coming as a result of the chimp’s inability to bond with its fellow primates, due to its close relationship with the visitor.
The visitor identified as Adie Timmermans, who calls Chita, 38-year-old chimpanzee the apple of her eyes, was told this week of the ban by the Antwerp Zoo.
According to Antwerp Zoo spokeswoman Sarah Lafaut, who manages the zoo’s mammal collection, she disclosed that the zoo had a good reason for the ban.
“When Chita is constantly surrounded by visitors, the other animals ignore him and don’t consider him part of the group,”
Lafaut added that as a result of Chita’s interactions with Adie and other human visitors, he spent all his time outside the zoo’s opening hours sitting in isolation, completely shunned by the rest of the primate troupe.
“An animal that is too focused on humans is less respected by its peers,” Lafaut said.
Reacting to the ban, Adie who spoke with Belgian news channel ATV, said that, “I love that animal, and he loves me, and I’ve been visiting him every week for four years.
She however called the ban imposed on her by the zoo, ‘unfair’, as other people are allowed to see the animal.
According to Adie, she said the chimp is “all” she has in her life.
“I haven’t got anything else. Why do they want to take this away from me?
“Other dozens of visitors are allowed to make contact with Chita, but why not me?” She told ATV tearfully.
Adie described her interactions with Chita as a “real relationship” and said her bond with the chimpanzee was like “having an affair.”
She shared clips of herself pressed up against the glass of the monkey enclosure, “kissing” Chita through the glass and waving to him.