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Chimpanzees are going almost completely bald after ‘pulling each other’s hair out’ at a German zoo, which staff blame on ‘over-grooming’ – as animal rights group claims primates are ‘stressed out’

  • Chimpanzees at the Magdeburg Zoo, in northern Germany, have become hairless
  • Zookeepers said this was due to excessive grooming
  • But animal rights activists said the animals were deeply stressed

German zookeepers are shocked after seeing chimpanzees almost completely hairless.

The chimpanzees at the Magdeburg Zoo, in northern Germany, were only seen with small tufts of hair covering their bodies, showing off their gruesome and muscular physiques to zoo visitors.

The chimpanzees have reportedly been pulling out each other’s hair because they are ‘stressed’.

But zookeepers tell visitors that they are simply ‘over-groomed’, according to a sign hanging next to their enclosure.

Chimpanzees are known for grooming each other. It is one of the many ways that animal families bond with each other.

Magdeburg zoo veterinarian Felix Huseman told Bild: “Our animals are doing very well in terms of health.”

The chimpanzees at the Magdeburg Zoo, in northern Germany, were only seen with small tufts of hair covering their bodies

The chimpanzees have reportedly been pulling out each other's hair because they are 'stressed'.

The chimpanzees have reportedly been pulling out each other’s hair because they are ‘stressed’.

Zoo veterinarian Felix Huseman from Magdeburg told Bild: 'Our animals are doing very well in terms of health'

Zoo veterinarian Felix Huseman from Magdeburg told Bild: ‘Our animals are doing very well in terms of health’

But animal rights activists have said the rapid hair loss is not caused by excessive grooming, but is a symptom of “severe psychological stress disorders.”

Peta said: ‘Some of them had noticeable bald patches on their heads, chests and the backs of their shoulders; some were now almost completely hairless.

‘In addition, some animals ate their own feces.’

Peta claimed that the chimpanzees’ “behavioral disorder” indicated “significant, persistent distress” caused by stress, anxiety, boredom and frustration, all of which can cause chimpanzees to behave strangely.

Just a few years ago, in 2019, the chimpanzees staged a prison break from their outdoor enclosure, and zookeepers were forced to move them to a smaller caged area.

Magdeburg Zoo has spent £1.6 million building an escape-proof roof, but that won’t be completed until later this year.

Peta filed a criminal complaint against the zoo in 2021, but it was dismissed.

But the rights group has now filed a complaint against the prosecutor’s office, which closed the investigation, demanding a final decision on the proceedings.

“We appeal to politicians and the zoo to completely abolish the captivity of great apes in the Magdeburg Zoo,” Peta said.

“It is a crime to imprison great apes,” added spokesperson Dr. Yovnne Würz.