by Max Brantley
Louie, the Little Rock Zoo's eight-year-old chimpanzee, has died after suffering from autoimmune disease.
The Little Rock Zoo is sad to report the loss of Louie, an 8-year-old chimpanzee living at the Zoo since 2009.
Louie had been fighting an autoimmune disease for the past few weeks that was attacking his organs and red blood cells. Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Marilynn Baeyens had been treating symptoms associated with the disease, but the disease has no cure. Louie had shown some initial signs of improvement but took a turn for the worse and was found dead this morning.
According to Baeyens, Louie was born with the autoimmune disease that can lie dormant for years. Because Louie was born at a private breeding facility there are no genetic records readily available that could have aided in the diagnosis of Louie’s condition or explained more about the nature of the disease.
Louie and his companion Mikey were acquired by the Zoo in 2009 from private individuals who owned them as pets and donated them to the Zoo after realizing they could no longer care for them as they sexually matured and became more aggressive.