OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is mourning the loss of one of its oldest primate members.
Zoo officials say 55-year-old chimpanzee, Cindy, was humanely euthanized on Tuesday, August 1, due to declining health.
“Cindy was known for her spunky and playful personality and her love of blankets. She could be seen with a blanket, no matter the weather, and loved to wear them over her head. Cindy was an integral part of the Zoo’s chimp troop playing the role of ‘aunt’ to the young chimpanzees in her troop. She would also use blankets to build her nests and play tug of war with the youngsters in her troop,” said the OKC Zoo. “Cindy shared a close bond with [her caretakers] and would greet them in the morning by vocalizing excitedly.”
Cindy was born in the wild, so her exact birthdate is unknown, but according to Zoo records, she was born in 1968 – making her the third-oldest chimpanzee in human care.
“According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the average life expectancy for chimpanzees is 41 years and the fact that Cindy surpassed that is a testament to the incredible healthcare and wellbeing she received from the Zoo’s animal care teams during her life,” said the OKC Zoo.
She arrived at the OKC Zoo in 2007 from the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida.
Cindy was considered a geriatric animal and had been under veterinary care for age-related health issues including arthritis and loss of vision, and more recently, she had shown signs of slower mobility and loss of appetite.
When the Zoo’s veterinary and animal care teams realized that Cindy’s quality of life was diminishing beyond supportive care, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.
Native to Central and West Africa, chimpanzees are listed as endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. With declining populations, chimps are at risk due to deforestation, hunting and illegal pet trade.
The OKC Zoo is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information or to buy tickets, visit okczoo.org.