Zoo pens eulogy to departed chimp

To honor the passing of one of their longest-standing residents, the San Francisco Zoo added a heartfelt “good-bye” page dedicated to Tallulah, “Matriarch Of The Chimpanzees.”

Tallulah the chimp, a Zoo resident since 1967, lost her battle with heart failure and breast cancer on Sunday. While her exact age is not known, she was believed to be in her mid-50s.

The SF Zoo added an “In Memoriam” section to their site today, speaking of Tallulah not only in a human way, but as a member of the family. The page-long ode discussed her effect on the Zoo’s approach to helping ailing animals.

Tallulah’s condition inspired a partnership between the Zoo and UCSF cardiologists and veterinary oncologists, and would encourage zookeepers to “address the special dietary and health care needs of geriatric animals.”

But what the Zoo really focuses on in its final farewell is what a colorful personality the old chimp had. She is described as “funny, clever, confident and a trickster,” and well-respected by the other chimpanzees around her.

In addition to engaging in people-watching while on display at the Zoo, she was widely recognized by patrons for carrying around a leopard-print fleece blanket, often wearing it as a shawl.

Tallulah’s long stay at the Zoo began in the mid-60s after being raised as a private pet. She would spend the next five decades as part of quartet at the Zoo. The eulogy page tells us that the three chimpanzees that survive Tallulah are still alive and healthy.

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