ASHEBORO, N.C. — The North Carolina Zoo says its alpha female chimpanzee, Maggie, has died at the age of 46.
Maggie was euthanized on Friday, April 12, after a period of declining health.
Zoo officials say she lived a full life for her species -- female chimpanzees typically living for about 40 years.
Maggie was one of the Zoo's longest residents. With her death, all the member's of the Zoo's original chimp troop that opened the habitat in 1980 are now gone. She was the dominant female of the troop for more than 35 years.
With Maggie’s passing, zookeepers anticipate that chimp Ruby, 22, will become the next alpha female.
Maggie’s body was presented to the chimpanzee troop so they could observe the death and mourn the loss.
Jennifer Campbell, one of her keepers for 14 years, described Maggie as a strong force in the chimp troop. “She acted like she was too tough to care about the humans who cared for her, but one time she let her guard down and let me play with her toes,” Campbell said.
She added: “Being allowed to tickle her toes until she laughed was one of the highlights of my career here because it made me feel so special. I always admired her bossiness and her unwillingness to take any nonsense from anybody. She was one of a kind.”
The Zoo’s troop now consists of 15 chimpanzees—9 females—Amy, Ebi, Gari, Genie, Gerre, Gigi, Nori, Ruby and Tammy, and six males—Gus, Kendall, Jonathan, Lance, Sokoto and an infant boy.