The North Carolina Zoo says a 46-year-old chimpanzee has died after 35 years as the dominant female of her group.
Zoo officials said in a news release that the chimp named Maggie was humanely euthanized on Friday after health issues including an infection and lung problems. Zookeepers noted she had already lived longer than most female chimpanzees, who typically live to around age 40.
"Maggie's health had been slowly declining over the past week," said the Zoo's Director of Animal Health Dr. Jb Minter. "During a closer examination it was determined she had developed signs of sepsis and severe peritonitis (an infection of the lining of the abdominal wall) from a perforation in her large intestines. Due to her advanced age, the severity of the disease and complications associated with the post-surgical care of this condition, the animal care and veterinary teams made the difficult decision to euthanize Maggie."
Maggie was the last member of the original troop of chimps established at the zoo in 1980. She had come to North Carolina from a zoo in Virginia.
As the alpha female, Maggie built relationships and served as a leader to younger chimps.
The zoo says it now has 15 chimpanzees in its troop. Chimps are considered endangered in the wild.