HEART-WARMING footage captures the moment a cheeky chimp goes on the run after escaping from a Ukraine zoo.
The video, filmed in the besieged city of Kharkiv, shows the female primate Chichi wandering through the streets.
Staff from the zoo in Ukraine’s second city try in vain to persuade Chichi to return home after she strolls into a nearby park.
After others try to win her trust with sweet treats, a blonde woman is spotted kneeling down and talking to the escaped ape.
But when it starts to rain, the homesick chimp suddenly runs over to her keeper and embraces her.
The woman then gives her yellow raincoat to Chichi, who obligingly stretches her arms through the sleeves.
At the end of the sweet clip, Chichi hitches a ride back to the zoo on one of the zookeeper’s bikes, with the help of a local.
Oleksiy Hryhoriev, director of the zoo, confirmed that the animal had been safely returned.
Regional broadcaster Suspilne Kharkiv, which filmed the clip, said the animal wandered into the city’s central Svobody Square.
According to reports, the ape escaped from a temporary facility at the zoo after making a hole in a chain link fence.
She had already made several unsuccessful bids for freedom before.
Chichi was evacuated from her previous home at the Feldman Ecopark earlier in the war after it found itself on the frontline of the Russian invasion in Kharkiv region.
Tragically, more than 100 animals died before the Ecopark was evacuated, according to owner Oleksandr Feldman.
He said on Monday that many animals have also been impacted by the brutal war, adding that they need “warmth, love and care”.
The businessman added that six volunteers who helped him evacuate the animals were also killed.
One of those killed was a 15-year-old boy who had come to the park with his parents when he was caught in a Russian attack.
Animals suffer from war no less than people
Feldman wrote on Facebook: “Animals suffer from war no less than people.
“The recipe for the rehabilitation of war animals is quite simple – it is love and care. And a peaceful sky above your head.”
So far, Kharkiv city centre, where Chichi’s new zoo is based, has suffered less frequent shelling.
However, this doesn’t mean it is completely safe.
Just last week, at least four civilians were killed after a rocket hit the city centre.
It comes just a day after a rampaging tiger escaped from a zoo in Ukraine.
The tiger terrorised three towns after it fled across the border into neighbouring Slovakia.
As of Monday, the tiger was still on the run.
The town of Ulic told citizens on Sunday to limit their outdoors movements.
Police who said they were informed about the escaped tiger by Ukrainian authorities warned people against taking any risks.
Slovakian authorities urged people to immediately inform them if they see the tiger.
In March, harrowing photos taken inside Ukraine’s bombarded zoos showed tormented animals trapped in their cages in the face of Russian shelling.
And in April, a Ukrainian zoo said it would be forced to put down thousands of animals after Russian shelling forced volunteers to abandon it.
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