Edinburgh Zoo chimpanzee returns to troop after testicular surgery following deadly fight

11 July 2024, 08:36 | Updated: 11 July 2024, 11:10

A chimpanzee that had to undergo surgery to his testicles following a deadly troop fight at Edinburgh Zoo has been reintroduced to the ape enclosure.

Qafzeh was injured in last week's brawl, which also claimed the life of fellow chimp Rene.

Keepers had attempted to intervene and stop the violent battle, but 31-year-old Rene could not be saved.

Edinburgh Zoo, which is run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), explained that chimp group dynamics are "incredibly complex".

Fighting also occurs in the wild, especially around breeding time when females are in season and when males are challenging for dominance of the group.

RZSS said it was important to reintroduce Qafzeh back into the troop as soon as he was well enough after expert health checks in order to "maintain bonds".

He is said to be "recovering well".

The Budongo Trail enclosure is home to 14 chimps - Louis, Lucy, Eva, Sophie, Lianne, Heleen, Qafzeh, Kilimi, Paul, Frek, Edith, Liberius, Velu, and Masindi.

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Darren McGarry, head of living collections at RZSS, said: "Rene was a much-loved chimpanzee and I speak for all of the staff and volunteers at Edinburgh Zoo when I say that we were devastated by his passing last week.

"Unfortunately, this is a normal part of chimpanzee behaviour which occurs in captivity, just as it does in the wild.

"I have been heartened by the outpouring of support since the news of Rene's death was made public.

"It's also very encouraging that the other chimpanzee who was badly injured in the fight, Qafzeh, has responded well to his treatment, appears to be making a full recovery and has been successfully reintroduced to the troop."