BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is mourning the loss of a chimpanzee baby born yesterday morning to Joice, the matriarch of the Zoo’s chimpanzee troop. The baby, whose gender has not yet been determined, was born behind-the-scenes around 9:45 am on June 19 and appeared to be healthy. “Joice is an experienced mother and the birth appeared to have been without complication,” stated Mike McClure, general curator at The Maryland Zoo. “Initially the baby was active and Joice was caring for the infant appropriately.”
Staff monitored the troop during the day, continuing overnight. “During overnight checks, the keeper staff noticed that the baby didn’t appear to be nursing and was becoming lethargic,” continued McClure. “We then determined that the baby had died sometime early this morning.”
Zoo staff have left the infant with Joice and rest of the chimpanzee troop for a short time. “As we have noted, research indicates that chimpanzees do exhibit what we call ‘mourning’ behavior, although we do not know for a fact if they do mourn their dead,” said McClure. “The chimp troop will be off exhibit for a day or two to allow them to process the events of the past day.” A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, the results of which will not be known for several weeks.
“This is truly sad news for our chimpanzee troop and the wonderful team of people who care for them,” said Don Hutchinson, President/CEO of The Maryland Zoo.