The Dallas Zoo humanely euthanized its oldest animal due to failing health over the weekend.
Bon Bon, 57, was a chimp born at the zoo in 1958 and was considered the matriarch of the chimp troop, according to officials. But in recent weeks her health began to “decline rapidly” and she had little eyesight and mobility, the zoo said, and the animal care team “knew it was time to say goodbye.”
The zoo said the eight other members of the chimp troop “respectfully said goodbye to Bon Bon with hand touches and soft vocalizations.” After the entire troop said their farewells, Bon Bon’s daughter Koko, 30, had some one-on-one time with her mother.
“The troop let her have that time. It was very unique,” said primate supervisor Sarah Villarreal in a statement.
The zoo said Bon Bon was one of the first chimps in the zoo’s Primate Building that opened in 1961 and in the Chimpanzee Forest that opened in 1997.
“She was everybody’s favorite. Since she had been here so long, staff members from all over the zoo had formed a special relationship with her,” Villarreal said. “People would always stop by to say hi. And she didn’t forget them. Chimps always remember.”
People who wish to send cards to staff members that worked with Bon Bon over the years can mail them to: 650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas, TX 75203.