John Ball Zoo



"Sammy," one of our 44-year-old male chimpanzees, has been behind the scenes in recent weeks due to some health issues.  Last summer, Sammy had a series of small strokes, but had been doing quite well until recently. In the past few weeks, Sam was diagnosed with a urinary stone and shortly after that incident, he developed anemia from suspected stomach ulcers. 

Despite these health issues, Sammy has done well taking new medications, and his keepers have been keeping a very close eye on him.  He has been showing signs of gradual improvement each day, and even learned how to allow his caretakers to assess his blood pressure using a cuff designed to read from his finger! 

Sammy will remain under careful observation until he regains his strength before rejoining the troop where guests can enjoy his unique antics again.  

The team is always uneasy when any of our animals are not feeling well, but we are cautiously optimistic with the improvements we have seen in recent days. For now, Sammy will remain under the very watchful eye of his caretakers and veterinary team.



Sammy was born at the Kansas City Zoo in 1978. Over his lifetime he lived at two additional zoos before coming to the John Ball Zoo in January of 2008. Over the last 14 years, Sammy has been a unique addition to our troop who loves attention from his caretakers and has a special interest in looking at everyone's shoes. Sammy has won the hearts of many employees, volunteers, and guests, and we all look forward to seeing him in the habitat again soon. 


Sammy relaxing and lounging in the shade.

Sammy the chimpanzee at John Ball Zoo.

Sammy celebrating his 43rd birthday.