Cincinnati Zoo’s 3-year-old bonobo dies after RSV outbreak



The Cincinnati Zoo announced a 3-year-old bonobo, Amali, has died after an outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, within the troop.

Amali died after receiving supportive care for a week, according to a post on the zoo’s Facebook page.

“Bonobos are especially susceptible to the RSV and the secondary infections that happen alongside it,” the post read. “Younger individuals are at an even higher risk of complications.”

Amali and the bonobos are part of the zoo’s Jungle Trails exhibits. The Jungle Trails team is providing supportive care for the rest of the symptomatic members of the bonobo troop. The team is seeing signs of recovery and is hopeful the infection has mostly run its course.

Amali, whose keepers caller her Lil Bit, said she was always eager to interact with keepers and often waved her arm to try and get their attention.

“People say the best things come in small packages, and after working with Amali I’m here to tell you… they’re right. Amali was small but mighty. She had a huge personality,” the post read. “...The entire bonobo troop adored her; from our large adult males to her half-brother Bo, everyone was a playmate but made sure to be gentle and tender with her.”

Bonobos have tight-knit social groups and are intelligent, so keepers gave each member of the troop to say a final goodbye and start the grieving process.

“It’s hard for everyone, and while her keepers and troop continue to grieve the loss, we’re comforted by the idea that she is reunited with her father Vernon,” the zoo said. “And despite only being 3, she has inspired countless guests to take action to help wild bonobos.”

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