Wichita, KS – This week, the Sedgewick County Zoo released the findings of a necropsy performed on a five-week-old Chimpanzee named Kucheza, who died unexpectedly on December 22. According to the zoo, the exam revealed an unexpected cause of death…head trauma.
In a news release, the zoo said:
Our team is still trying to make sense of it all, but the reality of the situation is that we will simply never know what led to Kucheza’s injuries. Based on the family social dynamics and what we know of each individual chimp, we believe that whatever happened that night was an accident.
Zoo staff does not believe that baby Kucheza’s death was the result of infanticide, which is the intentional killing of infants. They explain their reasoning, writing:
The family had been together without incident for two weeks, and his injuries were not characteristic of injuries associated with infanticide.
Many people inquired about cameras in the chimpanzee enclosure. The zoo addressed the question:
A camera outside of their enclosure wouldn’t see anything besides a mesh barrier and a camera inside the enclosure wouldn’t be safe from a resourceful and inquisitive animal.
Future habitats would be designed to hold cameras, but this one was built in the 1980s so it wasn’t a consideration at the time.
Original article about the baby chimpanzee’s death at this link.