Home / News & Diaries » Zoo News » Much loved chimp, Chima, dies

Much loved chimp, Chima, dies

Zoo News - Posted 8 April 2015

Chima web

In a tragic turn of events, Chima was attacked and badly bitten after being introduced to the dominant male, Luka. Zoo staff worked around the clock to try and save Chima, with several staff members sleeping next to her enclosure after the attack. 

Zoo Director Stephen Standley says a plan for integrating Chima with the other chimpanzees had been prepared well in advance of her arrival. It was based on knowledge of general chimp behaviour as well as the behaviour of the individual chimps involved, including Chima. A key element of the plan was early introduction to provide Chima with social opportunities as soon as possible. Chima was successfully integrated with two females, Sally and Sanda without incident, Mr Standley says.

The altercation with Luka lasted only two minutes and the chimpanzees were separated by keepers. Chima had severe bite wounds to her neck, legs and bottom and these were stitched under general anaesthetic.  She was given round the clock care over the next five days and some of the zoo team slept in the chimp house during this time.

“Sadly Chima passed away just after midnight on Saturday, and the post mortem indicates probable cause of death was brain trauma sustained in the original attack,” he says. “Staff at Hamilton and Wellington zoos are devastated by Chima’s death.  Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent and their behaviour can be unpredictable, especially when introducing them to new chimpanzees.”

Zoo vet, Micah Jensen, tried to save Chima.

“Many of us spent many late nights with Chima, often sleeping in the chimp house, and setting up a mini ICU unit to try to bring her back to us. We even placed Sally, one of the other female chimps, in the den next to Chima to encourage her to recover. It was a heart-breaking night when Chima did not wake up from her final anaesthetic.”

A team of highly trained specialists worked to keep Chima alive, and Dr Jensen passes on her thanks

“Hamilton Zoo would like to say thank you to all the veterinary and human medical specialists and staff who provided consultation, equipment and supplies often at odd hours over the Easter break, to help give her the best care we could. This included staff from Massey Vet Hospital, Wildbase, Waikato Hospital, Waikato After Hours Veterinary Hospital, Gribbles Pathology, Wellington Zoo and Braemar hospital. Our special thanks to Isobel Gibson and Alan Julian the pathologists from New Zealand Veterinary Pathology who came in especially on Easter Sunday to help with Chima."

Recent updates

Hamilton Zoo Draft Master Plan
Zoo News - Posted 18 April 2017

Zoo raises over $50,000 for conservation
Zoo News - Posted 12 April 2017

Palm oil campaigners' support grows
Zoo News - Posted 28 March 2017

Two Day Closure
Zoo News - Posted 16 March 2017

Winners - Snapped at the Zoo
Zoo News - Posted 13 March 2017

Shouldn’t they be in the wild?
Zoo News - Posted 16 February 2017

Outstanding fundraising campaign for low-decile schools
Zoo News - Posted 17 January 2017

SNAPPED at the Zoo!
Zoo News - Posted 12 January 2017

Christmas gift guide
Zoo News - Posted 14 December 2016

Christmas shop at The Warehouse and help send students on Zoofari!
Zoo News - Posted 1 December 2016


Archives 2017
Archives 2016
Archives 2015
Archives 2014
Archives 2013