Bonobo Dies at Des Moines Ape Center

This undated photo provided by the Great Ape Trust shows Panbanisha, who pulled the fire alarm Friday, Oct. 20, 2006, sending out the fire department to the Great Ape Trust of Iowa in Des Moines. Fire department spokesman Brian O'Keefe said Monday it was the first known case of an animal setting off a fire alarm in Des Moines.(AP Photo/ Great Ape Trust)


By Ellen Kurt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bonobo considered one of the best at communicating with humans has died at an ape sanctuary in Des Moines.

Ken Schweller, the chairman of the Great Ape Trust Bonobo Hope, says Panbanisha died Tuesday night, likely from complications from a cold. The center is waiting on a report from a veterinarian.

The 26-year-old female bonobo lived at the trust since 2005. Like her half brother, Kanzi, who also lives at the trust, Panbanisha could communicate with humans via symbols on a display and understood some spoken English.

There are six other bonobos at the trust.

The sanctuary's director, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, was placed on administrative leave in September after some former workers questioned her ability to care for the apes.
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