Veterinarians have concluded that a bonobo from Great Ape Trust of Iowa died last month of a heart condition, the organization announced Tuesday.
Iowa State University veterinarians examined P-Suke, an adult male, after his death on July 7 while he was under anesthesia in preparation for hernia surgery. The examination, called a necropsy, found that P-Suke had cardiac fibrosis, which results when stiff, fibrous tissue forms in the muscle and lining of the heart. That tissue makes it harder for the heart to pump blood.
Dr. Brigetta Hughes, a veterinarian for the Ape Trust, said there was no way to know whether the anesthesia played a role in the bonobo's death. However, the staff confirmed that the appropriate anesthesia was used in the correct dose.
The trust delayed release of the ISU necropsy until the final report was issued.
"Cardiac fibrosis occurs in great apes as it does in human," Hughes said. "At this time, we're unsure what caused it to develop in P-Suke, but we believe he lived with it for at least several years. We can say, however, the fibrosis was not related to arterial changes such as those seen in humans with poor diet, lack of exercise or hypertension."
P-Suke was born in 1979 in the rain forest of Zaire, now Congo.