Chimp succumbs to head injuries

The 18-month-old chimpanzee that received emergency treatment at a Joburg hospital, and was later rushed to the University of Pretoria's faculty of veterinary science by ambulance, has died.

Joshua had sustained serious head injuries, leading to concussion and swelling of the brain, after he was caught up in a fight between two males at Joburg Zoo.

His "human mom", Althea Guinsberg, who hand-raised Joshua until recently; Phillip Cronje of the Jane Goodall Institute; and veterinarian and anaesthetist Dr Leon Venter of the faculty, stood by his bedside on Wednesday night as the small chimp lay under a blanket, surrounded by pipes and machines.

Yesterday morning they again did tests on the animal. There was no brain function. Everyone present made the difficult decision to put emotions aside and did what was best for Joshua, according to Cronje.

"It was certainly not easy, but it was the merciful and right thing to do. Joshua would have had no quality of life. We took the merciful decision with his best interest at heart," a sad Cronje said.

Just after 9am Joshua was injected and peacefully put to sleep, as Cronje put it.

Louise Gordon, executive manager of marketing and education at Joburg Zoo, said the news was heart-breaking to them all.