GRIFFITH PARK (CBS) — An investigation is underway Wednesday at the Los Angeles Zoo, after a baby chimpanzee was killed by an adult male chimp.

The deadly attack happened in front of visitors Tuesday, some who said they were so horrified they had to leave the zoo. Others were so enthralled, witnesses said, that they captured the incident on video.

“Chimpanzee behavior can sometimes be aggressive and violent and the zoo is sorry that visitors had to be exposed to this,” according to a statement issued by the Griffith Park-based facility.

The unnamed infant chimpanzee, which was born March 6, was the daughter of a chimp named Gracie.

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.

Officials said that their staff was not allowed to immediately enter the exhibit for their own safety.

“Gracie is being allowed to keep the infant overnight to allow her the opportunity to grieve,” according to the zoo. “This is a heartbreaking and tragic loss for the zoo and especially for
the Great Ape Team who have worked diligently to care for the infant and its mother since its birth.”

The L.A. Zoo houses one of the nation’s largest troops of chimps in North America. The baby had been gradually introduced into the troop and there were no previous indications of problems, according to zoo officials.

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