Friday, July 20, 2007

One of the world's oldest chimps dies

Fifi, one of the denizens of Australia's Taronga Zoo, passed away today at ripe old age of 60. Fifi, who suffered from arthritis and had taken to sipping from a cup of chamomile tea each morning in her later years, stayed in bed Thursday morning, raising suspicions among the keepers that she was unwell, the zoo said in a statement.

Keepers provided her with fresh bedding and her favorite foods, while other chimps in the group visited her throughout the day, the zoo said. She died peacefully in the afternoon.

Boy, that part about the "other chimps visiting her throughout the day" kinda gets to ya, doesn't it? I'm visualizing a long line of somber chimps waiting to pay their respects. Although unconfirmed, it's possibile that regularly scheduled afternoon activities such as screeching and waving sticks were cancelled out of respect for the matriarch, who had four generations of family at the zoo.

And just who is the world's oldest living chimp? None other than Cheeta, the star of a dozen "Tarzan" movies! Cheeta, who is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the record holder, turned 75 in April. Cheeta was also mean as a snake, and bit almost all of his co-stars, and probably many gaffers and cameramen to boot.

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