An adult male chimpanzee at the Los Angeles Zoo bashed to death a three-month-old baby chimp as nearly 100 horrified onlookers watched on Tuesday. The baby, daughter of mom Gracie, was a favorite of zoo fans, and several fled the scene after witnessing the bloody attack. "All I heard was screaming" from the chimp enclosure, said a boy visiting with his family, which immediately left because they feared something had gone terribly wrong. Officials said they didn't know why the baby was killed, but male chimps in the wild are known to kill the offspring of rival males, notes the Los Angeles Times.
Managers fearing further violence didn't allow staff members to enter the enclosure until the following day, reports CBS. Gracie held her dead baby throughout the night. "Chimpanzee behavior can sometimes be aggressive and violent, and the zoo is sorry that visitors had to be exposed to this," the zoo said in a statement. "It's heartbreaking, a tragic loss for the zoo and especially for the Great Ape Team who have worked diligently to care for the infant and its mother since its birth." The LA chimp troop is one of the largest of any zoo in North America.