Female chimp Mirella dies at Mysuru Zoo

Captive breeding of primates takes a jolt due to the demise

Female chimp Mirella dies at Mysuru Zoo

Personnel at Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, in Mysuru, were in for a shock on Monday, as Mirella, one of the chimpanzees, breathed her last in the morning. With this, the aspirations of the Zoo, in breeding chimps in captivity, took a major jolt.

Mirella was 26 years old. The pair of Mirella and Mason were brought from Sweden Zoo in 1994 and were the prime attractions at the primate section, following the demise of Wali in 2013.

According to Dr Suresh Kumar, chief veterinarian at the Zoo, the animal breathed its last around 9-9.30 am in the morning. “The keepers found Mirella at its enclosure suffering from breathing difficulties, after a stint of brief illness. As soon as they informed us, we rushed to the spot. However, the animal had breathed its last by then,” he said.

He said, the samples of the animal was collected for analysis. According to a release issued by Executive Director of the Zoo B P Ravi, experts were invited to perform the postmortem, so as to ascertain the exact cause of death.

Five chimpanzees

With the untimely death of Mirella, the Zoo is now left with five chimpanzees — Mason, Guru, Ganga, Kimoni and Nkosi. The Zoo authorities had pinned their hopes on Mirella to succeed in the captive breeding programme, with the Zoo director expressing similar aspirations back in 2013. “It is difficult to breed primates as compared to other mammals,” he had said.

Of the five chimps, Ganga is the only surviving female, which is above 50 years of age. Guru was rescued from a circus and two young male chimps Kimoni and Nkosi arrived at the Zoo in December 2013.

Female chimp awaited

As per the agreement with the Singapore Zoo, with respect to the Animal Exchange programme, Mysuru Zoo was to get two male and a female chimp. However, the female chimp is yet to arrive at the Zoo. The primate could not be transferred to the Zoo along with Kimoni and Nkosi in 2013, as it was nursing its new born.

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