Chattanooga Zoo Grieves Loss Of Chimpanzee Josie

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Chattanooga Zoo euthanized “Josie” the chimpanzee on Sunday, Dec. 30. The difficult decision to euthanize was made by zoo veterinary staff after weeks of rapid deterioration and weight loss by the 37-year-old female chimp. 

Recently, zoo staff noticed Josie’s increasingly impaired mobility and rapid weight loss. After a thorough examination by zoo veterinary staff and the University of Tennessee’s School of Veterinary Medicine, it was determined that the chimpanzee was not going to get better only worse. 

“It really came down to a quality of life issue for Josie,” said Zoo Executive Director Darde Long. “It would have been selfish on our part to keep her alive in her current state with such a poor prognosis from both our veterinarian and the UT Veterinary School.”

Josie came to live at the Chattanooga Zoo from the Fort Worth Zoo in 2001 as part of the Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan. She is survived by two female and one male chimpanzee who were part of the same group from Fort Worth. 

Before Josie died, her chimpanzee friends and zoo staff were provided the rare opportunity to say goodbye. Josie will be missed by all.

The 14-acre Chattanooga Zoo (historically referred to as the Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park) is accredited by the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), assuring the highest standards of
animal care and husbandry. The Zoo is dedicated to its mission of engaging and inspiring all citizens of
the community to better understand and preserve wildlife by creating meaningful connections between
people and animals. With its intimate, innovative exhibits, wide-ranging education offerings and commitment to conservation, the Chattanooga Zoo fills a unique niche within the community. The Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit

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