After over five decades of calling the San Francisco Zoo her home, Tallulah, the matriarch of a the chimpanzee troop, died this past Sunday, January 6. The mid- to late-fifty year old chimp succumbed to heart disease complicated by breast cancer after several years of declining health.
As one of the oldest chimps in an AZA accredited zoo in the US, Tallulah’s aging process inspired further advancements in animal geriatric care, from improving accessibility to enlisting the help of UCSF cardiologists and veterinary oncologists.
Tallulah came to the zoo in 1967 along with three other chimps. She was originally raised privately as a pet.
“Tallulah was an exceptional animal,” Zoo spokesperson Abbie Tuller said.
Primate keepers, zoo staff, and patrons will remember Tallulah as a loving, expressive matriarch with a funny, clever, confident, and playful personality, Tuller said.
According to Tuller, Tallulah enjoyed people-watching, examining recycled materials, and snuggling with her favorite blanket.
Those other three chimpanzees survive Tallulah and are still in good health.
Photo of Tallulah: Marianne Hale/SF Zoo