Professor Van Hoof taught behavioral biology at Utrecht University and was the co-founder Mama and her chimp colony who were then raised in a zoo back in the 1970’s. Mama was born in the wild but her dominant nature made her become known as “the Grand Lady” at the Royal Burgers Zoo in Holland. Mama had started to refuse all intake of food and water, and the 59-year old ape started to curl up into a ball day by day and become unresponsive.
However, the reaction from her seeing and recognizing the professor was emotional and very beautiful. A behavioral scientist named Frans de Waal mentioned a few words regarding her personality: “She had an exceptionally strong and dominant personality so that no man who wanted to come to power could do so around her. She also brought consolation when there were tensions and mediated conflicts.”
A week later the Mama the ape passed away, and Frans de Waal said to the press “She will be sorely missed, also by me, because I have rarely seen such an admirable character in both humans and apes.”