Mama, the matriarch of the renowned chimpanzee colony at the Royal Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem, the Netherlands, was critically ill at 59 years of age. The week before Mama passed away from old age in April 2016, she was visited by Jan van Hooff, a professor emeritus of behavioral biology at Utrecht University and co-founder of the Burgers’ colony, who had known Mama since 1972. It took some time for her to realize that it was her old friend, Jan, that was with her. She responded in a particularly emotional way. Mama was a socially significant figure in the colony. This is explained in “Chimpanzee Politics” by Frans de Waal, who had been a colony researcher since 1974.
Video footage shot in Arnhem, the Netherlands, in April, 2016.