A 13-year-old chimpanzee escaped from Kharkiv Zoo in Ukraine and went on a delightful stroll around the northeastern city for a few hours. She was persuaded to come back by zookeepers as she decided the rain was not to her liking, donned a jacket, and then got transported home… on a bicycle.
The escape artist, named Chichi, absconded on Monday from her current dwelling. She gave the zookeepers a run for their money as she kept her distance from them. She went from a university to a nearby city square, probably just for a little bit of culture and learning.
“Chimpanzees are highly intellectual creatures, it wasn’t difficult to her to break the fence and leave,” Victoria Kozyreva, who was one of the zookeepers at Kharkiv Zoo who helped convince Chichi to return home, told NBC News. "After I heard that she left, I followed her to the square and began to talk to her."
In the video, a zookeeper is seen to be sitting down with Chichi near a park, in the hopes of getting her to return. You can just imagine the conversation that must have taken place.
The tides turned in the zookeeper’s favor when it started to drizzle, and Chichi – who did not want to get her glorious locks damp – rushed to the nearby zookeeper.
In a scene that may remind some people of Curious George and his human friend Ted the Museum director, the zookeeper then took off her bright yellow raincoat and helped Chichi slip into it. The chimp was very appreciative of this fashionable outerwear and gave her a hug.
Chichi then rounded off the adventure by being wheeled back on a zookeeper’s bicycle.
The zoo’s director, Oleksiy Grigoriev, told the Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne that Chichi was returned safely to her enclosure and is in good health.
Chichi has had a chaotic and sad few months. She was originally in Feldman Ecopark and was evacuated to the Kharkiv Zoo when the heavy fighting began in March. The ecopark has now permanently closed.
Unfortunately, over 100 animals at the Feldman Ecopark have been killed in rocket attacks and sadly some animals have been euthanized. This devastating event also resulted in at least six of the park’s employees and volunteers being killed.