Baby chimpanzee killed by adult at L. A. Zoo

A baby chimpanzee was killed at the Los Angeles Zoo by an adult male chimpanzee as visitors watched on Tuesday

Topics: Animals, California, GlobalPost, Los Angeles, nature,

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

A baby chimpanzee was killed at the Los Angeles Zoo by an adult male chimpanzee as visitors watched on Tuesday.

Global Post

The baby chimp — born March 6 — had been gradually introduced to the shared habitat and there had been no sign of problems, the LA Times cited the zoo as saying.

Chimpanzees are the human species’ closest living relative, and the LA Zoo troop is one of the largest in a North American zoo.

“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.”

The baby’s mother, named Gracie, “had proved to be a caring mother,” the zoo said in a statement.

The Associated Press cited zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs as saying visitors reported seeing the adult attack the 3-month-old infant.

You Might Also Like

Zoo staff were unable to stop the attack owing to their own safety concerns, Jacobs said.

“Gracie is being allowed to keep the infant overnight to allow her the opportunity to grieve,” he said.

A recent report in Scientific American said that while chimpanzees were usually “peaceable creatures,” they occasionally “engage[d] in these lethal bouts of aggression” and killed their own.

Some scientists had theorized that this was an evolutionary strategy for reducing competition for resources — and mating partners — while others suggested that human disturbance, including deforestation, had triggered the behavior.

A study of killings in chimp communities across Africa found that found that kills occurred in most chimpanzee communities, and that victims tended to be infants and adult males outside the killer’s social group, with most killings carried out by groups of males.

The higher the number of males in a group, the higher the number of kills, the study found.

Study author Michael Wilson of the University of Minnesota, noting that the research “tells us something about human evolution,” told the Scientific American that: “The number of males is important because the more males there are, the more competition there is for mates in the community.”

The AP concurred, writing that male chimpanzees were known to attack the offspring of rivals both in the wild and in captivity, especially if a desired female was involved.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>