5-week-old chimpanzee dies at zoo; mother holding baby after death, officials say

The Sedgwick County Zoo says its 5-week-old chimpanzee, Kucheza, has died.
The Sedgwick County Zoo says its 5-week-old chimpanzee, Kucheza, has died.(Sedgwick County Zoo)
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 4:24 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH/Gray News) - A baby chimpanzee has died at a zoo in Kansas.

According to the Sedgwick County Zoo, its new baby chimpanzee named Kucheza died on Thursday.

The zoo said keepers found the 5-week-old chimpanzee deceased and cradled in his mother’s arms.

KWCH reports the baby chimp’s death was sudden and unexpected, with zookeepers heartbroken.

“Mahale [Kucheza’s mother] is not quite ready to part with him,” a spokesperson for the zoo shared. “But when our team is able, a full medical assessment will be done to determine the cause of death.”

Zoo officials said Kucheza was born via C-section in November with the help of two Wichita OB-GYNs after his mother, Mahale, fell into distress.

According to the zoo, its team will continue to inspire respect and conservation for Kucheza’s wild counterparts in his honor.

“In his few short weeks of life, Kucheza brought joy and light to so many, and sparked an opportunity to educate the world about chimpanzees, the dangers they face in the wild, and most importantly - why we should care,” a spokesperson with the zoo shared.