Some stories are just too cute to keep to ourselves and this one about an escaped chimp is one of them. Ukraine has been locked in a battle with Russia for months now, which obviously decreases the foot traffic of civilians. But the traffic decrease at the zoo in Kharkiv, Ukraine, had Chichi, a 13-year-old chimpanzee, so bored that she escaped to wander around the city.
One could assume that she was looking for the people. After 13 years in a zoo where people come to you to tell you how pretty you are, a chimp is bound to miss the attention. Chichi escaped on September 5, certainly giving unsuspecting onlookers a shock. Thankfully, her escapades didn’t last too long, although if I personally ran into a chimpanzee while trying to grab a cup of coffee, 15 seconds would’ve been too long. Chichi was caught after about two hours in Kharkiv’s Freedom Square not far from the zoo, according to NBC.
Chichi had a nice day out and you may think the story ends there, but the way that they lured her back to the zoo is like something out of a “Curious George” book. In the viral video you see that the zookeeper, Victoria Kozyreva, brought her raincoat to Freedom Square and then sat and chatted with the chimp. After a few minutes of catching the zookeeper up on her fugitive shenanigans, the chimp slipped on the yellow raincoat before hitching a ride on a bicycle back to her enclosure.
u201c#Ukraine In Kharkiv, a chimpanzee escaped from a zoo. It was walking around the city while zoo employees tried to convince it to return. Suddenly it started to rain, and the ape ran to a zoo employee for a jacket and then agreed to return to the zoo.u201d
— Hanna Liubakova (@Hanna Liubakova)
Kozyreva told NBC, “It wasn’t difficult to convince her, all that’s needed is negotiations. There was rain. I talked to her and invited with my jacket, helped to put it on and gave her a hug.” Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent animals; they’re able to solve puzzles and learn to communicate with sign language so it’s no surprise Chichi was able to escape her enclosure without much difficulty. According to NBC, Kozyreva has known the chimp since it was in childhood … or would that be chimphood? Either way, she’s known the chimp a long time, which could have played a part in it being willing to negotiate.
Surely Chichi has an amazing story to tell the other chimps at the zoo and hopefully none of them get the same idea from her adventures. The sight of a chimpanzee in a raincoat preparing for a ride on a bicycle will certainly bring a smile to just about anyone’s face. Whoever’s been reading the chimps “Curious George” books, keep it up because this is the cutest capture the internet has ever seen.
While the war continues in Ukraine, it’s easy to forget the animals caught in the middle of conflict and their caregivers possibly unable to access everything they need. If you’d like to help efforts to care for the zoo animals in Ukraine you can donate through the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If you’d like to help domestic animals in Ukraine you can reach out to the Humane Society International for ways to help.