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Heartbreaking moment dying chimp recognises her old friend and is overcome with emotion

• http://www.mirror.co.uk, Jane Lavender

This is the heartbreaking moment a dying chimp recognises an old friend and is absolutely overcome with emotion.

Mama the chimp is terminally ill and had been refusing to eat and stayed curled up in a ball until her old pal arrived for a visit.

The 59-year-old from the Royal Burgers Zoo in the Netherlands would not even drink water until Professor Jan van Hooff called to see her.

Mama opens her arms up in an adorable moment of pure joy when she sees the professor, who set up the chimp colony she had been living in.

She screeches with happiness and he cradles her in her final days.

The pair have known each other since 1972 and Professor Hooff wanted to visit his former charge before she lost her fight for life.

Despite being in a state of gloom for several days, the visit was enough to lift Mama's spirits.

Sadly, she passed away just a week after the emotional visit in April last year.

Mama was born in the wild back in 1957 and was the oldest chimp at the zoo at the time of her death.

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