Chimps ripping out each other’s hair, revealing their muscular physiques, in baffling scene at German zoo

A group of suddenly hairless chimpanzees in Germany left their zookeepers baffled — but they now worry they have been tearing each other’s hair off.

The chimps’ muscular physiques make an alarming display for visitors at Magdeburg Zoo, with a sign next to their enclosure claiming their unusual appearance is due to “over-grooming.”

The zoo’s great apes have “noticeable bald spots on their heads, chests and the back of their shoulders; some were now almost completely hairless,” according to an October release from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Chimpanzees at the Magdeburg Zoo in Germany have been mysteriously losing their hair. Peter Gercke / BILD Fotoservice

Zookeepers believe they may be tearing each other’s hair out. Peter Gercke / BILD Fotoservice

Animals rights groups say the pen where they are being kept is too small, with PETA adding the behavior indicates the animal’s were experiencing “significant, ongoing suffering.”

Their report noted other unusual behavior from the chimpanzees including “some animals consumed their own excrement.”

Magdeburg Zoo veterinarian Felix Huseman pushed back against PETA’s report, telling the German outlet Bild: “Our animals are doing very well health-wise.”

Animal rights activists have claimed the behavior is due to the zoo’s pen being too small. Peter Gercke / BILD Fotoservice

Magdeburg Zoo veterinarian Felix Huseman claimed the chimpanzees are in good health. dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

The chimpanzees had previously broken out of their large outdoor enclosure in 2019, according to a report in The Sun, and have been kept in a smaller concrete pen while a new $2 million outdoor enclosure is built.

That enclosure is set to open later this year. PETA has consistently campaigned against the housing of the chimps, but a criminal complaint against the zoo for moving them was dismissed in 2021.

“We appeal to politicians and the zoo to completely phase out the captivity of great apes in the Magdeburg Zoo,” regardless of the new and improved digs, PETA said.

Leave a Comment