Zoo officials announce favorite chimpanzee will be getting a new home

October 2, 2018

Officials with the Riverside Discovery Center announced Monday that a favorite animal at the zoo will be soon getting a new home.

In an announcement Monday, Riverside Discovery Center Anthony Mason announced, “an old friend will be getting a happy new home.

“We are deeply sad to announce that after over 25 years at Riverside Discovery Center, Scooter, our 26-year-old male chimpanzee, will be leaving Oct. 7. We are happy though that he is leaving to join a new troop at the Houston Zoo.”

Mason said moving Scooter was not an easy decision, but zoo staff felt it was in his best interest after his surrogate mother died. Sarah died in May at the age of 49.

“We have a lot of fond memories of Scooter and love him very much, but ultimately believe this to be in his best interest.”

Michael Gillen, assistant head zookeeper said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Scooter for the past 16 years, eight years as a keeper. He will always hold a special place in my heart. I have enjoyed watching him grow. I remember seeing him as an infant when I was a kid visiting the zoo. He will be greatly missed.”

Mason said zoo officials have been working with the AZA Species Survival Plan and identified the Houston troop as the best fit for Scooter’s personality and needs. The Houston Zoo primate team is well-versed in animal introductions and will ensure that Scooter fits in well with his new troop, he said.

Mason encouraged people to come out to the zoo on Saturday, Oct. 6, to say farewell to Scooter. He reminded the public that the zoo will close early on Oct. 6 for set up of its Octo-Bear-Fest fundraiser.

A “silver lining” to the announcement, Mason said, is that Riverside Discovery Center will have a new group of five chimpanzees coming to Riverside in spring 2019. Riverside Discovery Center will announce more details as they become available.

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