Kansas City Zoo fined after chimp starves to death
Kansas City, MO, United States (4E) – The Kansas City Zoo has been fined more than $4,500 after one of its chimpanzees starved to death due to the inattentiveness of the zoo workers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the zoo was notified in May that the zookeepers were not able to prevent dominant primates from stealing Nusu’s food.
The 13-year-old Nusu died in May, he lost 37 per cent of his body weight in 20 months, which was the last time he was put on a scale.
His normal weight should be about 150 pounds, but he was only 97 pounds at the time of his death.
Zookeepers, who lure primates onto a scale using treats, failed to notice that Nusu wasn’t being weighed because the others were literally keeping food from him.
The federal letter of reprimand stated that “your employees were not certain as to how much food this chimpanzee was consuming as they were not monitoring this animal specifically and they knew that other chimpanzees hoarded biscuits from the other chimpanzees.”
There was nothing in the zoo’s daily log about Nusu’s condition until the staff called the veterinarian after he developed bumps on his arm.
Nusu was never separated from the group despite his weight loss or skin problems.
Zoo officials acknowledged Thursday their failure to provide adequate care but stressed that there have been changes made as a result of Nusu’s death.
Geoff Hall, recently hired as second in command at the zoo, said caring for captive animals is both an art and a science.
He added that there are fantastic veterinarians working at the Kansas City Zoo working on hundreds of animals of different specifies.
“It’s not like a human physician working on one species and having multiple subjects. We have to learn all the time from the animals,” Hall said.
Hall also said that significant strides and improvements have been made and “we’re very pleased with the progress of this institution.”
Chimpanzee experts from Chicago as well as zoo directors from across the country were invited to review the zoo’s operations. Additional personnel have been employed and intensive trainings are being conducted.