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Kansas City zoo chimp dies after falling from a tree during skirmish

Bahati, a 31-year-old chimpanzee, died at the Kansas City zoo Wednesday after he fell from a tree.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A chimpanzee at the Kansas City Zoo has died after what the zoo called “an unfortunate accident.”

The zoo said Wednesday morning that one of the chimps passed away due to injuries sustained in a fall from a tree, during a brawl involving several chimps.

A skirmish broke out around 9 a.m. among 12 chimps inside the 3-acre habitat, which the zoo said is “often a part of chimpanzee society and is a means of maintaining the hierarchical structure within that society.”

The 31-year-old chimp, named Bahati, climbed a tree during the fight and fell when he grabbed a branch that broke, the zoo said. The zoo initially said the branch was dead, but later clarified that it was alive, but too small to support his weight.

A fully grown male chimpanzee can weigh between 88 and 132 lbs.

He died as a result of the injuries sustained in the fall, the zoo added.

The zoo said chimpanzee caretakers and the Animal Health team responded quickly, but Bahati died of his injuries.

The zoo said the habitat’s trees are professionally trimmed annually. Zoo staff is also tasked with monitoring the trees year-round.

Bahati was born at the Sedgwick County Zoo on May 28, 1986. He moved to the Kansas City Zoo just this past February, when he was transferred from Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo on the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and its Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan.