Zoo grieves for wise old Janie
A memorial for Auckland Zoo’s chimpanzee Janie who died last week is planned for the near future.
Flowers and written tributes have been laid by her old enclosure as visitors pay their respects to the 60-year-old chimp after she was euthanased on Friday because of health issues.
Plans are being worked through for some form of memorial to commemorate Janie, zoo spokeswoman Jane Healy says.
Staff are supporting each other as they adjust to life at the zoo without the ‘‘cheeky, funny and wise’’ chimp, she says.
Janie was the oldest animal at Auckland Zoo, arriving from London 57 years ago.
‘‘Janie was and always will be a special part of Auckland Zoo and we are very saddened by her loss,’’ head of life sciences Kevin Buley says.
‘‘It was a heartbreaking decision but the overwhelming desire to preserve Janie’s dignity meant it was the right one.’’
Sierra Leone-born Janie came to the zoo with three others – the foursome making up the ‘‘tea party chimps’’.
For seven years they entertained the public with their shenanigans but the tea parties stopped in 1963 because of changing attitudes.
Her health issues are thought to be due to an inappropriate diet in the earlier decades of her life.
Janie’s ashes will be spread at the zoo.