"Since chimps are intelligent and sensitive like humans, a permanent separation will give them trauma. Besides, depression can be fatal for the pair."
Animal welfare activists are hoping that the zoo will reconsider separating the bonded chimpanzees, suggesting that another male be introduced on a limited basis at the Lucknow Zoo instead. But the transfer of animals away from their companions and familiar environs is par for the course for zoos aiming to breed their captives, even if it comes at the expense of their well-being.
Despite the similarities humans share with other primates commonly held in captivity, zoos are under no obligation to put the feelings of animals ahead of a business agenda. But how these animals are regarded in society could soon change.
Advocacy groups, like the Nonhuman Rights Project in the U.S., are fighting for primates to be granted "personhood" status in the eyes of the law. Slowly but surely, the winds of change are gaining momentum, until perhaps one day no more lifelong friends will be needlessly parted.