Chimpanzee matriarch dies in Sydney zoo

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

One of the world’s oldest chimps, Fifi, has died in Australia, zoo officials said Friday.

Fifi, the matriarch of the 18 chimpanzees at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, celebrated her 60th birthday in May with cupcakes and coconuts among four generations of her family. But Fifi, who had arthritis in her later years, stayed in bed Thursday morning, raising suspicions among the keepers that she was unwell. She died that afternoon.

Cheeta, the star of a dozen “Tarzan” movies in the 1930s and 1940s, is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest chimp. He turned 75 in April.