TAMPA (FOX 13) - A chimpanzee at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has died after apparently being attacked by another chimpanzee in their enclosure, the zoo said Wednesday evening.
The young female chimp, Keeva was found Wednesday morning by zoo staff.
"Chimpanzees have an incredibly complex and dynamic social hierarchy," said Dr. Larry Killmar Ph.D., the zoo's Senior Vice President and Chief Zoological Officer. "Keeva was spending the night with two adult chimpanzees, Twiggy and Nick, who have been showing normal interactions with her up to this point. We closely and carefully monitor their behavior, and it is perplexing that this happened."
The zoo says Keeva came to Lowry Park from an orphan in 2015 after her mother rejected her at birth. The zoo says she was successfully fostered by an adult chimp named Abby and, for the first five months of her life, a team of specialists provided round-the-clock care.
The zoo's Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan Program Leader Judy McAuliffe explained that chimpanzees can be volatile and physical and sometimes engage in conflict.
"They occasionally fight and injure each other, sometimes resulting in the death of members of their own groups," McAuliffe said.
The zoo said it would evaluate and make decisions about how to manage the chimpanzee troop moving forward. The Zoo is offering grief support to team members working to cope with the loss.