Josie the chimpanzee and Brownie the hyena, two long time residents of the Sacramento Zoo, both died of old age this week.
“It wasn’t necessarily a surprise that she passed on but at the same time it doesn’t make it any easier,” said Harrison Edell, a general curator of the Sacramento Zoo.
It’s not just the care takers feeling the loss, their furry friends are also in mourning.
“Right after she had passed we wanted to make sure the other chimps could view the body and could sort of process and understand that she had passed on it takes chimps some time to grieve like to does with people,” said Edell.
Nobody at the zoo is ready to replace Josie and Brownie but must start planning to, because it’s a time-consuming process.
“I think a lot of people assume when they see an animal at the zoo, it came from the wild. Very few animals that you see at zoos were ever wild animals. A lot were born in captivity at another zoo,” said Edell.
Edell must first turn to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which keeps a list of zoos with a surplus of animals. Then, they have too find the right fit for Sacramento.
“We want to avoid inbreeding at all cost, because we don’t take animals from the wild almost anymore. There is no influx of new genes,” Edell told FOX40.
It could take more than five months to get an animal from another zoo to Sacramento and ready for viewing. This year alone, the Sacramento Zoo has got two new giraffes, three new zebras and an Easter Bongo. In the next month or so, the zoo will also be opening a new snow leopard exhibit with a cub that came from Canada.