By Associated Press - Monday, November 16, 2015

KEITHVILLE, La. (AP) - Chimp Haven is mourning the death of its oldest resident.

Garbo, who was known as Grandma, died Sunday of natural causes, the facility’s president and CEO, Cathy Willis Spraetz said Monday. The facility’s Facebook page, said the primate was days away from her 62nd birthday, which is Dec. 10.

KTBS-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1HQhIz8 ) Grandma arrived at Chimp Haven on April 21, 2005. She was born in a research laboratory in 1953, making her the oldest chimpanzee living in captivity with a known birthday. Her parents were among the first 100 chimpanzees used in research.

During Grandma’s years in captivity, she assumed the role of nurturer to newborn chimps. When she retired to Chimp Haven she continued that role with her many stuffed animals and was rarely seen without one.

“She was so sweet-natured and everyone just loved her,” Spraetz said. “I think we’ve become so bonded and close to the chimpanzees that we care for and when we lose one, it takes a toll emotionally. Of course we will continue on, but it hits hard.”



Spraetz said the facility had not yet decided whether to hold any formal ceremony acknowledging Grandma’s death.

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Information from: KTBS-TV, https://ktbs.com

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