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Chimpanzee killed in ‘freak’ accident, other chimps rush to aid

August 30, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A pack of chimpanzees rushed to the aid of a 3-year-old chimp that accidentally choked himself to death Friday on a rope in his exhibit space at the Los Angeles Zoo.

The chimp apparently separated a strand from a nylon rope and placed it around his neck, said Lora LaMarca, a zoo spokeswoman. Other chimpanzees rushed the help 3-year-old Jamal, but to no avail.

``It’s just one of those freak things that happens,″ said Dr. Charles Sedgwick, the zoo’s director of animal health services. ``Jamal was doing a typical 3-year-old kid trick. ... I wish the other chimpanzees or we could have saved him.″

The 12-foot rope, which is knotted at both ends, serves as a ``behavioral enrichment″ plaything for the chimpanzees.

``It appeared that the other chimpanzees were trying desperately to help Jamal,″ said principal animal keeper Jennie McNary. ``They just didn’t realize they were pulling the strand of rope even tighter.″

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