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St. Louis Zoo chimp mysteriously dies

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 | 9:59 a.m. CST; updated 10:44 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ST. LOUIS— One of the best-known chimpanzees at the St. Louis Zoo has died unexpectedly.

Cinder, the 14-year-old chimp, was named for her appearance, which was brought about by an autoimmune disease that made her hairless.

Curator of Primates Ingrid Porton said Tuesday zoo staffers are in shock over the sudden passing of the popular chimp. Officials are still trying to determine what caused Cinder to die Sunday afternoon.

Porton says eight of the 11 chimps at the zoo have been battling colds, including Cinder. But she seemed to be getting better.

She said zoo keepers who were giving the apes their afternoon snack when chimps started screaming what she described as alarm calls. Porton said the keepers found Cinder flat on the ground, with alpha male Hugo at her side, "obviously very distressed."

 


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