Chimpanzee Exhibit To Stay At Zoo


SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Zoo has decided to retain a trio of aging chimpanzees, who will remain in the place that has housed them for decades.

An initial plan to eliminate the chimp exhibit was nixed, a plan that gained momentum after the death of the group’s matriarch, named Tallulah. Zoo officials eventually decided that it was in the best of the animals to keep them in their accustomed setting.

The chimpanzee exhibit is a popular attraction at the San Francisco Zoo.

The three chimps, Cobby, 57, and the two remaining females Minnie and Maggie, both 46, are popular and beloved zoo attractions.

“They are absolutely part of our family. We consider them one of us, certainly our staff does” Zoo Director Tanya Peterson said. “I’m so proud of the staff to try to remove our emotion and make the best decision for these chimpanzees.”

Part of the reasoning behind the initial plan to move the chimps is that the ideal social unit for a group of chimpanzees includes a minimum of four animals. In fact, the zoo ignored a recommendation made by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a move that could threaten the park’s accreditation.

In a decision that may curb the negative backlash from ignoring the recommendation, the zoo has announced it will spend a minimum of $250,000 on upgrades to the chimp enclosure.