Baby chimp 'Stevie' eases pain for Zoo Knoxville staff after accidental death of lion cub

Caregivers at Knoxville Zoo are still mourning the accidental death of the newest African lion cub, born on June 16.
Her older siblings Maji and Anga, born December 21st, are happily thriving, active 7-month-old lions. In fact, like juveniles of all kinds, they are regular fireballs.
"They're hitting all their milestones," said Tina Rolen, Zoo Knoxville's communications director.
Then there is Stevie, the female chimpanzee born on April 22nd. Although she has not yet been seen in public, she regularly visits with her troupe under controlled circumstances and they get to know each other better. It still has a long way to go before it can be fully integrated.
Stevie, the chimpanzee born April 22nd at Knoxville Zoo, is alive and well and learning important skills for her future integration into her troupe. July 7, 2022
Amara, the mother of the lion cubs, had given birth to Maji and Anga in late 2021 - a complicated process that required an emergency C-section. Complicated, acute kidney failure was also diagnosed after her final labour. Amara was immediately sedated and treated.
Previously: Knoxville Zoo's newest lion cub has died, a "devastating and heartbreaking" loss
See photos: Zoo Knoxville over the years
She began to improve and nursed and bonded with the boy in their common area. Everything went very well.
Even during regular periods of sedation and blood monitoring, the two were never separated. "She's a great mom," Rolen said. Her nursing team, who watched closely, saw no problems.
“Because she had given them no reason to believe she posed a risk and had behaved so appropriately in previous proceedings, they weighed the benefits of leaving the cub with her and the stress of separating them every time have to,” said Rolen. “They found that leaving the cub in the den with its mother was a lot less stressful. There were no red flags.”
Stevie, the chimpanzee born April 22nd at Knoxville Zoo, is alive and well and learning important skills for her future integration into her troupe. July 7, 2022
The boy's death was due to a "perfect storm" in which Amara was in the wrong place at the wrong time, while Amara came to, and possibly a bit of annoyance at having the movement of a little one nearby in her field of vision . Mom reacted defensively. It was over almost immediately.
"Things happen in a split second," Rolen said. "They were worried about Amara's survival. And of course, to have this opposite result was devastating. They hit it very hard.”
They named the cub "Zuri" - Swahili for "beautiful" - and that's how they will be remembered.
For Knoxville Zoo staff - professionals who understand the cycle of life and all its joys and sorrows - a tragedy like the loss of a lion cub is made worse by the fact that many animal species are endangered by habitat loss. poaching, climate change and other factors. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Knoxville Zoo works in partnership with the Species Survival Plan Program as part of a fragile lifeline.
Readers who are also mourning Zuri's loss would do well to consider supporting the conservation efforts in her memory and having compassion for those on the frontlines who are doing their best to serve the animals in their care.
"Life can be fragile and fleeting," said Lisa New, President and CEO of Zoo Knoxville, "and while this is a reality of our profession, it does not make us immune to the pain of losing an animal. We are grateful for the sympathy and support of our community and colleagues.”
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Zoo Knoxville: Baby chimp eases pain for staff after death of lion cub

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