Baby chimpanzee who charmed the world in viral reunion with his mother dies: ‘Our hearts are broken’

In a surprising turn of events, a baby chimpanzee, who managed to capture the hearts of millions in a series of viral videos, tragically passed away just five weeks ago at an old zoo in Kansas.

The Segdwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas reported that Kucheza, the chimpanzee, was discovered deceased on December 22nd.

His mother, Mahale, was allegedly embracing her infant at the moment and resisting the idea of releasing him.

The Sedgwick County Zoo expressed their sorrow on Thursday through a Facebook post, stating, “Dear friends, we are deeply saddened today. Regrettably, we must inform you of the unforeseen and abrupt demise of Kucheza, a chimpanzee who was only 5 weeks old. Our hearts are filled with immense sadness.”

A viral video on Facebook depicts a mother chimpanzee and her baby cuddling and playing together after being separated.

“When they arrived at the zoo this morning, the keepers discovered Kucheza lifeless and nestled in the embrace of his mother Mahale,” stated the zoo in their statement, emphasizing that “Mahale is not yet prepared to let go of him.”

A necropsy will be performed to determine Kucheza’s cause of death “when our team is able,” the zoo explained in its post.

The opportunity to educate the world about chimpanzees sparked and brought light and joy to many, as Kucheza was described in the post as a “creature”. It is important to care about and be aware of the dangers they face, especially in the wild.

The zoo also acknowledged the mourning mother in its statement.

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“The zoo stated that billions of people worldwide will continue to feel Mahale’s affection for Kucheza.”

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Kucheza spent the majority of his short life in the spotlight because of the distinctive circumstances surrounding his birth.

He was delivered by emergency cesarean section on November 15th at the zoo, to his mother Mahale.

Mahale was separated from the zoo for nearly two days, according to Swahili, the name of which translates to “play” — Kucheza, to help with the recovery of the two.

Kucheza also necessitated extra oxygen, as previously mentioned by Fox News Digital.

The zoo recorded their heartfelt reunion and it quickly became an internet sensation.


Mother Mahale was initially unable to recognize what was wrapped in the blankets, but she and her baby were reunited in the video (WATCH THE VIDEO at the beginning of this article).

As she approached for a closer examination, a minuscule hand extended towards her.

Mahale can be immediately seen snatching her baby into a tight embrace, recognizing that he was present in the enclosure, after his traumatic birth.

In the distance, the noises of zoo staff can be perceived as they weep while admiring the mother’s love for her young.

At that moment, Jennica King, the zoo’s director of strategic communications, informed Fox News Digital that the keepers would definitely not desire to go through the process of separating them once more, and once the mother regained possession of her baby, she would refuse to release it.


Another recording of Mahale and Kucheza became extremely popular in late November.

In that video, the mother and son were observed embracing, hugging, and engaging in play.


In that second video, baby Kucheza leans backward playfully at one point, and is then drawn close by its mom once more.

Fox News Digital contacted the Sedgwick County Zoo to obtain further comments about the passing of Kucheza.