"We are shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of 28-year-old chimpanzee Akati, who collapsed and died this morning at the Great Apes of Harambee," the Detroit Zoo wrote on its Facebook page. "She was a lovely, intelligent being and a wonderful mother."
Akati's children, Ajua, 7, and Akira, 4, are still dependent on a mother's love and care and will sorely miss her. According to the Jane Goodall Institute, the bond chimpanzees have with each other, especially between mother and child, is very strong; mothers and dependent young (up to age seven or so) are always together.
This leaves Akati's sudden death this week enshrouded in mystery.
"As with all animals that die at the Detroit Zoo, a necropsy (animal autopsy) is being performed to determine the cause of Akati's unexpected death," the zoo wrote. "Our staff, volunteers and visitors will miss her so very much."