Baby chimp Kucheza dies at Sedgwick County Zoo

Baby Kucheza's cause of death has not been determined because mom and baby have not been separated since they were reunited last month.
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 11:41 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) –The Sedgwick County Zoo announced the death of its new baby chimpanzee, Kucheza, Thursday morning.

The zoo said keepers found the five-week-old deceased and cradled in his mother’s arms when they arrived Thursday morning. The zoo said the baby chimp’s death was sudden and unexpected, leaving everyone heartbroken.

“Mahale is not quite ready to part with him, but when our team is able, a full medical assessment will be done to determine the cause of death,” said the zoo. “Mahale’s love for Kucheza was and will continue to be felt by billions of people around the world. In his few short weeks of life, Kucheza brought joy and light to so many, and sparked an opportunity to educate the world about chimpanzees, the dangers they face in the wild, and most importantly - why we should care.

Kucheza was born via c-section in November with the help of two Wichita OBGYNs after his mother, Mahale, fell into distress.

The Sedgwick County Zoo shared this video of their reunion connecting the world to their touching story.

The last successful birth of a chimpanzee at the Sedgwick County Zoo was in 2010 when mom Audra gave birth to baby Mabusu. Audra died last year at the age of 51. Her son, Mabusu is now 12 years old and doing well at the zoo.

The zoo said it would continue to share these messages and inspire respect and conservation for Kucheza’s wild counterparts in his honor. Donations can be made to Chimpanzee conservation in honor of Kucheza: