Montgomery Zoo Mourns Loss of Oldest Chimpanzee
The Montgomery Zoo has announced the death of its oldest chimpanzee, Snika.
The zoo says Snika had a sudden and severe decline in her health that was unresponsive to treatment. She was euthanized on September 8 to prevent suffering or injury from her troop mates, according to the zoo.
Snika was a staple at the Montgomery Zoo since December 1994, and loved by thousands of guests and Zoo members. Though the zoo says her birth date is not known, she was estimated to be in her 60s or even older, being quite possibly one of the oldest chimps in human care at the time of her death.
The average lifespan for chimpanzees is roughly 33 years in nature and up to 40 years in captivity.
The zoo says,”Snika was often everyone’s introduction to chimps – be it new zookeepers, interns, or to the public. You could see her sassy-self snuggling in a blanket, often perched on top of one of the highest posts on habitat. Snika loved movies, magazines, treats, and attention. She was patient with the other chimps, zookeepers, and veterinary staff. Snika facilitated a love for Great Apes in many people, helping draw attention to the Endangered status of chimpanzees in their native habitat.”
“Snika was one of the most incredible and patient animals I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. She was a wonderful teacher to our younger chimps, our staff, and our team as a whole. Our hearts are incredibly heavy with this loss, as it is one that is felt through the Zoo. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her independent, patient, and strong spirit,” says Andi Clason, Animal Care Manager.
As is standard, the zoo says a full necropsy will be performed so that zoos across the world can learn Snika’s secret to such a long life.