'Cheeky, funny' Janie the chimp dies
The last of Auckland Zoo’s tea-party chimps has been put down today.
Janie was euthanised this afternoon because of health issues brought about through ageing.
The 60-year-old chimpanzee, which came to Auckland from London Zoo 57 years ago, was the oldest animal at the zoo and Head of Life Sciences Kevin Buley said her death was heart-wrenching for staff.
“Janie was and always will be a special part of Auckland Zoo and we are very saddened by her loss,” he said.
"While it was a heartbreaking decision, the overwhelming desire to preserve Janie's dignity meant it was the right one."
Janie came to the zoo with her companions Bobbie, Josie and Minnie; the foursome making up the “tea party chimps”.
For seven years they entertained the public with their shenanigans but the tea parties stopped in 1963 because of changing attitudes.
Sierra Leone-born Janie was described by zoo staff as “highly intelligent, cheeky, funny and wise”, who said she had made a huge impact on visitors for many years.
Janie became a solo chimpanzee in late 2004 when her last companion, Bobbie, died.
Her health issues are thought to be due to her abnormal start in life and the impact of an inappropriate diet in the earlier decades of her life. She suffered from Type-2 diabetes and asthma.
Janie will be cremated and her ashes will be spread at the zoo.
Buley said there had already been a flurry of messages on social media since the announcement and if people wanted to pay their respects they could come to the zoo and leave flowers or written tributes at her old enclosure.
If people would like to pay tribute to Janie, donations can be made to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund at the Zoo or at aucklandzoo.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Pals and playmates (pictures)
Reacting to a sudden cancellation
New Zealand's best deck built yesterday
Appreciating Tony Allen
The meaning of blogging