The death of chimpanzee Mike from Dierenpark Amersfoort, who was shot to death yesterday, has unleashed a lot. Not only with visitors and animal caregivers of the park, but also at Conny Vink. The 75-year-old singer performed with Mike several times in 1969 and got a connection with the animal.
Monkey Mike escaped yesterday along with his younger fellow Karibuna from the monkey residence. The animals ran loose through the park and caused a stir in visitors who came face to face with the chimpanzees. For security reasons, both animals were shot.
“ My Mike, my monkey is dead,” says Conny Vink at RTV Utrecht. “Its such a great grief. I dont have words for it. I know people are dying now because of Corona, but Mikes death really takes me too. Ive always followed Mike, and weve always had a connection. It was a very cheerful monkey.”
“Teeth in dashboard”
The two first met in 1969 during a TV show by Mies Bouwman, where Vink held the monkey. After that, the chimpanzee performed with the singer a number of times: “He came with me in the car. He was with the teeth in my dashboard. They can have their own will. You should have seen it.”
the last few years, she mainly visited Mike during his stay: “As he grew bigger, you couldnt get to it anymore. It was always at a distance, because he was also incalculable. Its still monkeys. It was a zoo monkey, but we really had a connection.”
The two monkeys escaped from their quarters due to a human error in closing the enclosures. Animal caregiver Marjo Hademaker says that the shooting of the chimpanzees was unavoidable: “It busts everyones chest, but safety is primary.”
“ Chimpanzees are very sweet animals in a family context and they have a very close connection with their caregivers. But the moment a chimpanzee gets out of its own territory, theyre deadly dangerous. They then have tremendously dominant behavior. No matter how sweet they are.”
Hatdemaker often walked past the monkeyss residence and knew Mike well: “Mike was a fantastic chimp, we both had a white beard. Weve known each other for over 50 years. It was a fantastic animal. Mike was an icon, but he also had real monkey pranks.”
Protest action and research
At the zoo this morning protests by the organization All Dieren Free. They want justice for the chimps shot dead and demand a closure of the zoo, according to RTV Utrecht.
A number of animal rights organisations want an independent investigation. RTV Utrecht reports that the Animal Emergency Aid Committee and Animal Earth think that the zoo broke the law by shooting the animals immediately and not trying other solutions first.
The animal park says there was no time to sedate the monkeys. Also a behavioural expert from the AAP Foundation called the choice of the animal carers yesterday the right one.
The Committee for Animal Emergency Aid, together with Animal Earth, Animal Friendly Netherlands and Rights for all that lives, sent a letter to the permanent committee of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality about the incident in Amersfoort.