GRIFFITH PARK (CBS) — The Los Angeles Zoo has already launched an investigation into the fatal mauling of a baby chimpanzee by an adult male chimp Tuesday but an L.A. County official wants Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to get involved.
Victoria Pipkin Lane, executive director of the Quality and Productivity Commission, wrote a letter to the mayor saying she witnessed aggressive behavior in the chimp enclosure during a visit to the zoo last Saturday.
“Why was no action taken to separate the mother and baby chimp? The baby chimp did not have to die. Zoo staff should have taken action to protect the baby and its mother after Saturday’s fights,” Lane said in the letter.
The deadly attack happened in front of visitors Tuesday, when an adult male chimpanzee grabbed a 3-month-old female chimp from its mother and dealt fatal blows to its head.
Several witnesses said they were so horrified they had to leave the zoo. Others were so enthralled, people said, that they captured the incident on video.
Zoo officials said male adult chimps, when they fancy an adult female, have been known to kill baby chimps. Not only will they fight to try and kill existing partners of a desired female, they also direct their anger at offspring, according to the zoo.
The zoo’s mammal curator Jennie told CBS2 that, while chimpanzees can be loud and aggressive, there were no signs of trouble in the troop.
Renowned animal expert Jack Hanna was also speaking out about the incident Wednesday. He praised the L.A. Zoo for their chimp exhibit, which is one of the largest in the country.
Hanna said male chimps often display aggressive behavior to assert their dominance in the troop. He said that this animal can be one of the most intimidating.
“One of the animals that people say, Jack if something got loose at the zoo, what would you be more concerned about? A lion or a chimpanzee, or a gorilla or an arangutang? I pick a chimp every time. Because the chimpanzee is an animal that’s, obviously their DNA is very similar to ours, number one. Number two: their thought processing is outstanding. These animals are a beautiful creature, I love them, don’t get me wrong. These animals in a family structure like that you can only do what you can do,” Hanna told CBS2.