A Woman Has Been Banned from a Zoo for Loving a Chimpanzee

Can you blame her?

Closeup of a chimpanze resting on its arms

Apes, chimps, gorillas — all non-human primates — are the most intriguing type of creature in the world to me. They all look like humans in hairy suits, and yes I understand biology and evolution or whatever. I can watch primate compilation videos for hours. I truly believe Andy Serkis deserved at the very least a Best Actor nomination for his role as Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes. Could I fall in love with one? Definitely not. Could one fall in love with me? I am learning now that anything is possible.

A Belgian woman, Adie Timmermans, found love in a hopeless place (a zoo in Antwerp) where she fell for a chimp named Chita. They were “together” for four years until the zoo banned her from visiting him, according to Belgian news outlet ATV. Nobody has interviewed Chita, because he is a chimpanzee who cannot talk or give verbal consent to a relationship. But what do I know about their love? Sometimes, it’s all in a look — you don’t always need words.

Separated by a glass enclosure, the two would blow kisses and wave at each other, but their grand love affair had to end because even Chita’s fellow apes found this passion so weird that they shunned him. A zoo curator explained to ATV that apparently, “An animal that is too focused on people is less respected by its peers.” I believe this is how most men feel about women.

Amusing as it may be, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Timmermans was quoted saying, “I haven’t got anything else, why do they want to take that away?” I truly hope she finds new love with a member of her own species.

But if this woman’s sexuality is gorilla-specific, I do have a suggestion for her: a trip to Japan to meet Shabani, a Dutch-born gorilla and heartthrob who is famous enough as to have a whole Wikipedia article. He made headlines in 2015, with CNN calling him, “A surprisingly hunky male gorilla.” He’s a little younger than Chita, fresher. There sure is competition for his heart, but none of those other girls have Timmermans’s experience. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.