Janie the chimpanzee has died after 57 years at Auckland Zoo.

The 60-year-old was old and had multiple health issues, and was euthanised early this afternoon.

It had become clear that the zoo could no longer maintain her standard of welfare, said Head of Life Sciences Kevin Buley.

"Janie was and always will be a special part of Auckland Zoo and we are very saddened by her loss.


"While it was a heartbreaking decision, the overwhelming desire to preserve Janie's dignity meant [euthanasia] was the right one."

Janie was the oldest animal at Auckland Zoo, and was one of the oldest chimpanzees in any zoo in the world.

She arrived at Auckland Zoo from London Zoo in 1956 with her three companions, Bobbie, Josie, and Minnie to showcase 'Chimp tea parties' to entertain the public. Changing zoo and public attitudes saw the tea parties stop in 1963.

She was "highly intelligent, cheeky, funny and wise," a statement from the zoo said.

In her 57 years at the zoo she connected with millions of visitors, was treasured by Zoo staff, and was loved by many in the Auckland community, the statement said.

In lieu of flowers, if people would like to pay tribute to Janie, donations can be made to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund at the Zoo or www.aucklandzoo.co.nz.

We are sad to tell you that our much-loved chimpanzee Janie has passed away. We will greatly miss 'our wise old lady' pic.twitter.com/oO1heNSRtn


• Born in the wild in Sierra Leone in 1953

• The foursome were known as the `tea party chimps'


• Janie became a solo chimpanzee in late 2004 when her last companion, Bobbie, died.

• Janie's health issues were possibly due to her abnormal start in life and the impact of eating an inappropriate diet in the earlier decades of her life. She suffered from Type 2 diabetes and asthma