Elderly, Ailing Chimpanzee Dies At San Francisco Zoo

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A beloved longtime resident of the San Francisco Zoo died over the weekend, zoo officials said.

Tallulah, the matriarch of a four-chimpanzee troop that has been together since the 1960s, died at the zoo on Sunday of complications from heart disease and breast cancer.

She was in her mid- to late-50s, zoo officials said.

The chimp came to the zoo in 1967 after she was raised as a pet. She was one of the oldest chimpanzees at an accredited zoo in the U.S.

Zoo officials described Tallulah as “funny, clever, confident and a trickster with a playful personality.” Despite her playfulness, she commanded respect as the female leader of the troop, they said.

Among her favorite activities were people watching, magazine browsing and snuggling with her favorite leopard-print fleece blanket. She was known for wearing it as a shawl, and sometimes as a sarong, zoo officials said.

Tallulah’s declining health in recent years prompted the zoo to improve its techniques for caring for geriatric animals.

The zoo partnered with cardiologists and veterinary oncologists from the University of California at San Francisco to treat the chimp.

She is survived by her fellow troop members.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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