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Tulsa Zoo Announces End of Life Care

Jodi, one of the Tulsa Zoo’s geriatric female chimpanzees, and Roger, the zoo’s geriatric North American river otter, are both entering end of life care.

Jodi is approximately 50 years old and has been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Our veterinary and animal care staff have developed an individualized treatment plan for her. Jodi is actively participating in training that allows us to monitor her heart’s electrical activity via an ECG and heart sounds via a stethoscope. This allows us to assess the effect her treatments are having and adjust as needed. Heart disease is extremely common in older chimpanzees and is one of the leading causes of death in this species.

Based on her condition and her decreased ability to tolerate the other chimpanzee’s normal display behaviors, which can be intense and aggressive but are natural, we have decided to separate her from males Bernsen and Morris and rotate the rest of the troop to keep Jodi company. This is called a fission fusion group and will help keep Jodi safe, comfortable and allow her to conserve her energy.

Currently, Jodi spends most of her days resting and being pampered by her keepers. Guests will still be able to view the chimps, including Jodi, in the dayroom and the exhibit (weather permitting).

Roger is approximately 20 years old and is experiencing an age-related health decline including decreased mobility and heart disease. Our veterinary and animal care staff are managing his symptoms with medication, and he is responding well. Roger spends most of his day napping but is excited to interact with his keepers and enrichment items. Roger can be seen daily in his exhibit at the children’s zoo.

Both Jodi and Roger are closely monitored daily by staff members on their quality of life including mobility, appetite and temperament. While we don’t know how much time we have left with them, we will continue to adjust their treatments and support to ensure that they are happy and comfortable for as long as possible.

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