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Kansas City Zoo Chimp Dies After Fight With Other Chimps

Kansas City Zoo
In a video posted to Facebook, Sean Putney from the Kansas City Zoo explains what led to a chimp's death Wednesday.

A chimpanzee at the Kansas City Zoo died Wednesday from internal injuries after a fight with other chimps. 

According to Sean Putney, the zoo's senior director of zoological operations, Bahati, a 31-year-old male chimp was taken to the animal health staff after falling from a tree during a "skirmish" with the other chimps.

In a video posted to the zoo's Facebook page, Putney explained what happened. 

"When you have 12 chimps out here climbing trees, sometimes 30, 40, 50 feet in the air, the reality is a slip, a jump, holding onto the wrong branch, can lead to tragedy," Putney said. 

Putney said fights, such as the one that led up to Bahati's death, are a regular part of the day for chimpanzees. However, he said the zoo staff is looking for ways to better prevent injuries in the future. 

"Anytime you have animals together in an exhibit bad things can happen," Putney said. "When something like this does happen it certainly makes us all look at what we can do."

The Kansas City Star reports after Bahati fell from the tree, other chimps set upon him, hitting and pummeling him. A zoo spokeswoman told the paper zoo staff called the other chimps back to the holding barn. Bahati was then able to walk back to a nearby building. He died shortly after staff transported him from the chimp exhibit to the animal health facilities.  

Bahati joined the Kansas City Zoo's chimp troop in February after he was moved from the Tampa Zoo last summer.  

Katie Bernard is KCUR's morning news intern. 

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