A Central Oregon sanctuary for chimpanzees, announced the passing of one of the animals in their care.
Freedom For Great Apes (FGA) said Thiele (pronounced TEE-lee) was found unresponsive in her blanket nest on Oct. 21 with her chimp family at her side.
The nonprofit said a preliminary examination found that Thiele had an underlying heart condition. The organization says cardiovascular disease is common in great apes.
Thiele was 36. She was born in Vallejo, Calif., and was sent to Marine World to work in entertainment. The organization said Thiele “was required to perform unnatural tricks to the laughter and amusement of crowds of people throughout her younger years.“
FGA said that Thiele and her surrogate sister, Maggie, eventually became too strong, unmanageable and dangerous to be allowed around the public.
Both were eventually relocated to another California facility to breed, FGA said.
It was in 2005 that FGA said Thiele and Maggie were relocated to the sanctuary and Thiele was reunited with her biological sister, Patti.
Thiele also became close to another chimp named Emma. The two often played together, tickling and grooming each other.
One of Thiele’s favorite activities was looking at her reflection in the mirror.
“Over the past 17 years, Thiele has lived a peaceful, happy, and enriched life in what truly became her forever home,” FGA said on Facebook.