A chimpanzee brought back to the zoo by bike after his escape in Ukraine
A chimpanzee sparked a heartwarming brief moment in war-torn Ukraine when he escaped from a zoo, then was gently coaxed into surrendering by his keeper and returned home on a bicycle.
Video from the troubled city showed the monkey, named Chichi, crawling away on Monday from the Kharkiv zoo – which had recently been restocked with animals after being heavily bombed at the start of the war with Russia.
Zoo workers tracked the toddling simian as it wandered the city streets and a nearby park, the Guardian reported.
The AWOL monkey ignored initial calls from its guardians, passing Kharkiv National University and the city’s Svobody Square, according to Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspline.
Zoo workers followed her unsuccessfully until it started to rain.
As the rain fell, Chichi allowed a zookeeper to wrap her in a yellow raincoat, and the two kissed.
The video from the plaza shows three people guiding Chichi to the zoo as the chimpanzee sits on a bicycle seat.
Zoo director Oleksiy Grigoriev said the animal was brought back safe and sound.
Chichi was one of hundreds of animals evacuated from the zoo at the start of the war, as Russian forces attacked Ukraine’s second-largest city.
More than 100 animals were killed by Russian shelling before the evacuation was complete, according to Oleksandr Feldman, a Ukrainian businessman and owner of the zoo.
Six volunteers who helped with the evacuation were also killed and some of the animals had to be euthanized.
While Chichi and others have since returned as Ukrainian forces pushed back the Russians in the northeast, Kharkiv is still hit daily by Russian artillery.