LOS ANGELES, June 27 (UPI) -- A male chimpanzee that killed a 3-month-old chimpanzee Tuesday afternoon was displaying aggression normal to the species, officials at the Los Angeles Zoo said.
The killing took place in front of zoo visitors, the Los Angeles Times reported. Officials said the baby, born in March, was being introduced slowly to the other chimpanzees in the habitat, and the adult had shown no signs of violence previously.
"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. "This is a heartbreaking and tragic loss for the zoo and especially the Great Ape Team who have worked diligently to care for the infant and its mother since its birth."
The baby's mother, Gracie, was allowed to keep the body overnight, giving her time to grieve.
Chimpanzee aggression has been observed in the wild and in captivity. A Connecticut woman suffered disfiguring injuries in 2009 when she tried to help a friend subdue her pet chimpanzee.