Chimp dies from advanced liver cancer at St. Louis Zoo

ST. LOUIS, MO — A 19-year-old female chimpanzee has died at the Saint Louis Zoo.

A zoo spokesperson said “Holly” was humanely euthanized on Wednesday, March 7 due to advanced liver cancer.

The zoo conducted blood work, radiographs, and an ultrasound exam on Tuesday, which detected the presence of tumors affecting Holly’s liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

A necropsy is being conducted by the zoo’s veterinary pathology team to learn more about Holly’s cancer and better understand the disease as it affects the chimp species.

Holly was born March 30, 1998, at the Montgomery Zoo in Alabama, but Holly’s mother was not able to care for her. Through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, Holly and Bakhari, a chimpanzee infant from the North Carolina Zoo in a similar situation, were transferred to the Saint Louis Zoo when they were just a few months old. The chimpanzee infants were cared for by a team of Zoo staff and a few docents at Jungle of the Apes. Through careful introductions, the pair was integrated into the chimpanzee troop.

Holly did not have any offspring. There are eight chimpanzees at the Zoo’s Jungle of the Apes and Donn & Marilyn Lipton Fragile Forest.

Chimpanzees are critically endangered in their native Africa. Populations are perilously low due to several factors, including deforestation, disease and the bushmeat crisis. The Zoo is dedicated to caring for chimpanzees both at the Zoo and through the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute, which works with partners to help conserve chimpanzees in their natural environments.