ASHEBORO, N.C.(WNCN) – The North Carolina Zoo announced a member of their chimpanzee troop has died.

Nori reached the age of 11 before she was euthanized on Monday. The Zoo said the decision was made after a period of declining health.

Nori smiling
Nori smirking (NC Zoo).

Nori was born at the Zoo in August 2010. She was described by staff as “quirky and full of sass”.

When she was born, the Zoo said keepers noticed that her mother wasn’t showing the appropriate maternal care she needed to survive. The animal care team decided to pull her for hand-rearing at that point, a release said.

“From the day she was born, Nori captured and held tight the hearts of all that knew her. Caring for her as an infant, watching her grow with the other chimps is the most rewarding and meaningful thing I have done in my career,” Jennifer Ireland said, the Zoo’s curator of mammals.

The Zoo said she was reunited with the rest of the troop at four months, but started showing signs of being disoriented around the age of five. 

Nori puckers her lips
Nori blowing a kiss (NC Zoo).

According to the Zoo, she later began to have a loss of balance and seizures. It was then that Nori was diagnosed with epilepsy.

The Director of Animal Health, Dr. J.B. Minter, said her team worked with Duke Health early on and collaborated with a neurologist specializing in epilepsy.

“We attempted numerous anti-seizure medications through the years with varying success, and unfortunately, Nori’s seizures have never been fully controlled,” Minter said.

Nori began a steep decline in her quality of life over the last few years.

She experienced increased seizure activity and excessive bodily injury, the Zoo said. It also said her medications made her tired and drowsy.

According to Zoo staff, other chimps in the troop took notice and recently started avoiding Nori. The NC Zoo said isolation and a lack of social interaction can be stressful for chimps.

With the death of Nori, 15 chimps, nine females and six males, remain the troop.