ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Officials at the North Carolina Zoo are mourning the loss of one of their most prized residents.

  • Ruthie was euthanized Thursday
  • Officials remember her as being silly and sassy
  • She was 47 years old

Ruthie the chimpanzee was euthanized Thursday afternoon after her health began failing last week due to heart disease. She was one of the zoo's longest tenants while living there for nearly 40 years.

“Similar to humans, cardiovascular disease is very common in chimpanzees and is the leading cause of death in older great apes in human care,” said the Zoo’s Director of Animal Health Dr. Jb Minter. 

Officials say Ruthie was silly, sassy, and the one of the most stubborn animals at the zoo.

“She was a great auntie to all the younger chimps we’ve had in our troop – in fact, she is the first chimp we introduced infants and youngsters to – and she remained a favorite companion as they grew up,” zoo curator Jennifer Ireland said.

The lifespan for a female chimpanzee is approximately 40 years, Ruthie died at age 47.




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