A chimpanzee who was tranquilized after arriving at a Texas animal refuge died of a heart attack, according to a necropsy report, and not from suffocation as a refuge veterinarian said.
The 250-plus-pound chimp, named Kermit, was among nine chimpanzees transferred from Ohio State University to Primarily Primates, north of San Antonio, earlier this month.
Kermit died March 2 after he was sedated so he could be removed from a traveling cage to a holding pen at the refuge.
The report said the heart attack was associated with pre-existing heart disease, pulmonary congestion and tissue swelling associated with handling. The necropsy did not address tranquilizers in Kermit's body.
It was conducted by a veterinarian at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio.
Ohio State spokesman Earle Holland said it was a coincidence that Kermit died after the tranquilizers were administered.
But Columbus Zoo and Aquarium veterinarian Michael Barrie said the stress of the move and the tranquilizers could produce a heart attack in an animal with a pre-existing problem.
“Sometimes you don't know you have heart disease until you get an episode that stresses it,” Barrie said.
The truck trip to Texas took 38 hours and, after arriving, the animals were kept in the truck for 24 hours.