Ukraine: escaped chimp is hugged by woman and he returns to zoo on keeper’s bicycle

NEWS AND COMMENT-KHARKIV, UKRAINE: The back story to this news item is the war in Ukraine and we know that Kharkiv has been attacked on numerous occasions by Putin’s forces causing death and destruction to civilians in their apartments. Set against that background we have a chimpanzee who escaped Kharkiv Zoo on Monday. There are several videos but some can’t be shown here because the creators won’t allow it. Well done.

In the first we see the female chimp, Chichi, confidently walking down a Kharkiv Street which is almost entirely deserted because I guess half or more of the population has disappeared to the west of the country where it is relatively safe, and the remaining citizens are probably in basements. The zoo has been shelled and there have been many deaths of animals and humans. So, this humorous video is not so humorous in truth.

Chimp greets woman and they hug. She later gives the chimp her jacket
Chimp greets woman and they hug. She later gives the chimp her jacket. Screenshot.

However, we see a lady in a yellow top who is keen to greet and hug the chimpanzee. The chimpanzee rushes up to her and hugs her but in a very rough way and Chichi knocks her over. We then see her giving the chimpanzee her top in order to protect her against the rain.

And lastly, we see the chimpanzee content to be taken back to the zoo on the zookeeper’s bike with the woman helping. This tells me that the woman almost certainly works at the zoo and knows the chimpanzee and vice versa.

Chimp escapes from Kharkiv Zoo and eventually willingly returns on the zoo keeper's bike
Chimp escapes from Kharkiv Zoo and eventually willingly returns on the zoo keeper’s bike

I think the point is very important because chimpanzees are incredibly strong and they can do a lot of harm. I remember a story coming out of a private zoo in America of a visitor to the zoo interacting with a chimpanzee believing that the chimp was friendly. The chimp tore her arm off. Yes, I know it sounds horrendous but it was horrendous.

If this woman did not know the chimpanzee, she would have been in danger. The story, for me, is sad because we have a chimpanzee in the zoo which of itself is an unhappy situation. I am not a believer in zoos because most of the animals in zoo’s need a thousand times more space than they are allowed and I don’t know how they cope with that. Sometimes they don’t and they start pacing as a coping mechanism.

And then the back story is that Ukraine is at war with Russia and Kharkiv has been shelled and rockets have been sent over to hit apartment blocks and the zoo. Across Ukraine many animals have been killed. Some animal facilities have been deliberately shelled and on the last estimate 300,000 animals have been killed in Ukraine during the Russian invasion. So, the background is horrendous but here we have a chimpanzee jauntily meandering down an empty street in the middle of this city unaware of the war and keen to experience freedom.

It all spells human disaster to me. I see nothing good about it except the tenderness of the woman who deeply cares for Chichi. Every aspect of this story describes human behaviour which is depressing except, as mentioned, that little vignette of a moment when she embraces the chimp and gives him her jacket.

Below are some more articles on zoos.

Leave a Comment

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Apes