KYIV, Ukraine — The dangers of wandering in war-torn Kharkiv alone didn’t appear to faze Chichi, the runaway chimpanzee whose escapades this week have made her famous on social media. It was not till a well timed intervention from the heavens within the type of rain that her Ukrainian zookeepers had been capable of persuade her to return residence — with somewhat assist from a raincoat and a bicycle.
The 13-year-old feminine chimpanzee escaped from Kharkiv Zoo on Monday, with zookeepers monitoring her down about two hours later within the northeastern metropolis’s Freedom Sq., not distant.
Video reveals Chichi finally being persuaded to placed on a yellow hooded rain jacket, earlier than being returned residence perched on a bicycle, after briefly roaming by way of Ukraine’s second largest metropolis.
Movies of the incident have been shared broadly, providing each a uncommon second of levity within the thick of Russia’s conflict and an perception into the plight of animals in Ukraine whose houses have additionally come beneath bombardment.
“Chimpanzees are extremely mental creatures, it wasn’t tough to her to interrupt the fence and depart,” Victoria Kozyreva, the zookeeper at Kharkiv Zoo who helped persuade Chichi to return residence, advised NBC Information on Wednesday. “After I heard that she left, I adopted her to the sq. and started to speak to her.”
Kozyreva, who has identified Chichi for the reason that primate’s childhood, might be seen approaching her and serving to her placed on the yellow jacket within the video. It took cautious negotiations, she mentioned, to beat the chimp’s preliminary skepticism.
“It wasn’t tough to persuade her, all that is wanted is negotiations,” the 45-year-old zookeeper mentioned. “There was rain. I talked to her and invited with my jacket, helped to place it on and gave her a hug.”
Chichi, who as soon as resided on the Feldman Ecopark within the metropolis’s northern suburbs, was relocated to Kharkiv Zoo after heavy combating in early March, shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of the nation. The ecopark has since completely closed as a result of battle, which has seen Kharkiv proceed to face lethal shelling.
Chichi’s escape from her enclosure at Kharkiv Zoo was possible made simpler by the truth that she was saved behind an electrical fence at her residence earlier than the conflict, mentioned Serhii Kuvshar, who was Chichi’s caretaker on the ecopark and has additionally identified her since childhood.
He speculated that Chichi might have escaped from her enclosure as a result of she was bored, given the shortage of latest consideration from a public understandably distracted by their very own shattered lives.
“They’re fed up and bored to see zookeepers solely,” Kuvshar mentioned of chimpanzees in Ukraine. “They do prefer to boast in entrance of the folks about what they’ll do, they like when folks admire them, it’s a nice pleasure for them to speak with folks,” he mentioned.
Round 4,000 animals from the ecopark had been evacuated to different sanctuaries throughout Ukraine firstly of the invasion, in accordance with the zoo. Six zoo personnel had been killed within the shelling, it mentioned.
Whereas Chichi’s journey ended fortunately, Kozyreva mentioned lots of the primates had been struggling as a result of conflict.
“All of them have PTSD now, they skilled actual hell, they noticed how their family died,” she mentioned, referring to post-traumatic stress dysfunction. “They perceive all the things.”
Daryna Mayer reported from Kyiv, Rhoda Kwan reported from Taipei, Taiwan, and Matteo Moschella reported from London.
Matthew Mulligan contributed.