|Josh the chimp|
There had been some scuffling among the powerful primates, and Josh, who was nearly 21 years old, had some scrapes on his hand, but there was no indication of traumatic injury, zoo Director Randy Wisthoff said Thursday. A necropsy was performed, and tissue samples were sent to laboratories to determine the cause of death.
Josh had been the alpha, or dominant, male in the larger of two troops of chimpanzees at the zoo. Josh’s troop included one other male and 10 females. The other troop had two males.
Zoo staff was hoping to assimilate all the chimpanzees, with the exception of one elderly female, to improve the animals’ social structure. Wisthoff said that was being done at the recommendation of the chimpanzee species survival plan, a protocol among accredited North American zoos.
The first step was to place all four males together and later add the females. The males were in the off-exhibit holding area with access to an outdoor pen Wednesday afternoon when zookeepers noticed Josh had become “woozy and weak,” Wisthoff said. The zoo’s veterinary staff treated him, but he died a couple of hours later.
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