San Francisco Zoo chimp matriarch Tallulah dies

Tallulah San Francisco Zoo chimp

Tallulah, the matriarch of the chimpanzees at the San Francisco Zoo, died Sunday. Photo: Marianne Hale via SF Zoo

Tallulah, a chimpanzee known as the matriarch of the chimps at the San Francisco Zoo, has died.

Estimated to be in her middle to late 50s, Tallulah died Sunday, Jan. 6 from hearth disease and breast cancer, according to a zoo press release.

Tallulah was one of the oldest zoo chimps in the United States and came to the zoo in 1967 after being raised as a pet.

“Primate keepers described her as funny, clever, confident and a trickster with a playful personality but whose status as matriarch of the troop was made clear by the respect accorded her by the zoo’s other chimpanzees,” the zoo stated.

In her later years the zoo installed a number of modifications to the chimp exhibit and living space, such as extra stairs and rails, to accommodate older animals.

“Tallulah’s health issues also prompted the zoo to address the special dietary and health care needs of geriatric animals including partnering with [University of California, San Francisco] cardiologists and veterinary oncologists in her treatment for several years,” the zoo stated.

Tallulah had been part of a four-chimp troop at the zoo since the 1960s. The three other chimps are in good health, according to the zoo, but on Monday afternoon two of the chimps appeared subdued, sitting closely and facing each other, grooming each other quietly.

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  1. i remeber her.. She was a fun chimp to watch,and interact with she will be missed.. I hope they placea plaque in her Honor.


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