Reporting Regine Schlesinger
CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s a sad day at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. The story from WBBM’s Regine Schlesinger.
The zoo announced today that Keo, its first chimpanzee and one of the oldest in the country, had to be euthanized because of advanced heart disease.
Dr. Steven Ross, director of the zoo’s Lester Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes says 55-year-old Keo was very special to everyone there.
“Most chimpanzees don’t live much past their 30′s…So to get to 55 is really quite amazing,” said Ross.
Keo spent virtually his whole life at Lincoln Park, arriving in 1959 when he was just one year old. Dr. Ross says he fathered eleven chimps and made history.
“Keo was the oldest chimp ever to learn how to nutcrack. He used tools to crack open nuts, as some wild chimpanzees do. But many people thought that older chimps couldn’t learn that skill. But, he did and we published a paper about that. He’s also had opportunities to use touch-screen computers.”
Dr. Ross says the zoo’s six remaining chimps are consoling the staff and in turn, being consoled by zookeepers over Keo’s death.