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Zoo in shock after baby chimpanzee killed by adult chimp

June 27, 2012 |  9:22 am

This post has been corrected. Please see note below.

L.A. Zoo officials expressed shock after a baby chimpanzee was killed Tuesday afternoon by an adult male chimpanzee as visitors watched the attack.

The chimpanzee, which was born in March, was killed in a habitat with other chimps, the zoo said in a statement. The baby chimpanzee had been gradually introduced to the chimps in the habitat, but there were no indications of problems, according to zoo officials.

"Chimpanzee behavior can sometimes be aggressive and violent, and the zoo is sorry that visitors had to be exposed to this," the statement said. "This is a heartbreaking and tragic loss for the zoo and especially the Great Ape Team who have worked diligently to care for the infant and its mother since its birth."

Zoo staffers were shaken by the attack.

"I'm kind of shocked, and I'm very sad. My heart really goes out to our staff. It's been a very sad day," said Jennie Becker, the curator of mammals at the Los Angeles Zoo, told KABC-TV.

The mother is named Gracie, and she was being allowed to keep the baby overnight so that she could have time to grieve, the zoo said.

In 1997, a 3-year-old male chimpanzee accidentally strangled himself while playing with a rope at the zoo.

[For the record, 1:35 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that a 3-year-old male accidentally strangled himself with a rope in 2007. The incident occured in 1997.]


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