(CNS) - A baby chimpanzee at the Los Angeles Zoo was killed today by an adult male chimp while some zoo visitors looked on.
The unnamed infant chimpanzee, which was born March 6, was the daughter of a chimp named Gracie. Zoo officials said male adult chimps have been known to kill baby chimps, especially if they fancy an adult female. Not only will they fight and try to kill existing partners of a desired female chimps, they also direct their anger at the offspring, according to the zoo.
The L.A. Zoo houses one of the nation's largest troops of chimps in North America. The baby had been gradually introduced into the troop and there were no previous indications of problems, according to zoo officials.
"Chimpanzee behavior can sometimes be aggressive and violent and the zoo is sorry that visitors had to be exposed to this,'' according to a statement issued by the Griffith Park facility.
Because chimpanzees are strong and potentially dangerous, no staff members were immediately allowed to enter the chimp exhibit to remove the dead chimp.
"Gracie is being allowed to keep the infant overnight to allow her the opportunity to grieve,'' according to the zoo.
"This is a heartbreaking and tragic loss for the zoo and especially for the Great Ape Team who have worked diligently to care for the infant and its mother since its birth.''