Delhi zoo’s oldest animal, Rita, dies at 58
New Delhi: India’s oldest chimpanzee, 58-yearold Rita, died at Delhi zoo on Tuesday after suffering a multi-organ failure. Unwell since July, she was on a liquid diet for the past two months, and recently given animal pillows, blankets, a mattress and even a television to cheer her up.
A zoo official said multiple treatment methodologies were incorporated in treating Rita after consulting veterinarians of Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly, Chattbir zoo in Punjab, Lucknow zoo and Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal, and experts from School of Wildlife Forensic Health in Jabalpur. However, she did not show much improvement. “Unfortunately, the animal died at 12.15pm on Tuesday,” said Riyaz Khan, curator at the Delhi zoo.
“She has been our constant mate for the past so many years. She was the oldest member of the family at National Zoological Park.
We have lost a beloved member of the family,” the zoo said in a statement. The zoo has cancelled the inaugural function of the wildlife week, which was to be held on October 2.
The tissues of her organs have been sent to IVRI for further examination. “The exact cause of the death will be confirmed after the laboratory examination,” Khan added.
Born in 1960, Rita arrived at the zoo from Amsterdam in 1964 in exchange of Demoiselle cranes, and was paired with Max. Rita was loaned to the Chhatbir zoo in 1985 but returned to Delhi in 2006. She was to celebrate her 59th birthday on December 15. Earlier this year, Rita was recognised as the oldest chimpanzee in the country by the Limca Book of Records.
Rita was on a liquid diet for the past two months