The risks of wandering in war-torn Kharkiv alone did not seem to faze Chichi, the runaway chimpanzee whose escapades this week have made her famous on social media. It was not until a timely intervention from the heavens in the form of rain that her Ukrainian zookeepers were able to persuade her to return home — with a little help from a raincoat and a bicycle.
The 13-year-old female chimpanzee escaped from Kharkiv Zoo on Monday, with zookeepers tracking her down about two hours later in the northeastern city’s Freedom Square, not far away.
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Video shows Chichi eventually being persuaded to put on a yellow hooded rain jacket, before being returned home perched on a bicycle, after briefly roaming through Ukraine's second largest city.
Videos of the incident have been shared widely, offering both a rare moment of levity in the thick of Russia's war and an insight into the plight of animals in Ukraine whose homes have also come under bombardment.
“Chimpanzees are highly intellectual creatures, it wasn’t difficult to her to break the fence and leave,” Victoria Kozyreva, the zookeeper at Kharkiv Zoo who helped persuade Chichi to return home, told NBC News on Wednesday. "After I heard that she left, I followed her to the square and began to talk to her."