One of the elder animals at the Great Ape Trust near Des Moines died today (Friday) during a medical proceedure. Al Setka, a spokesman for the facility, says 27-year-old P-Suke (pronounced PEE-skay) had a hernia and was placed under anesthesia at about 10:30 this morning at the Great Ape Trust. Fifteen minutes later the bonobo was transferred to a nearby vet clinic for dental x-rays, and then as he was being prepared for transfer to Des Moines University for the hernia surgery.

But the health care team noticed P-Suke’s medical condition was deteriorating, and he was transferred back to the Great Ape Trust. Attempts to revive him failed, and the bonobo died just before noon.

P-Suke’s body has been transferred to Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine for an autopsy. His remains are being donated for scientific research.

Setka says it’s been a hard day for the animals and staff at the Great Ape Trust. “P-Suke was father to four of the seven bonobos remaining at the Great Ape Trust,” Setka says. “He arrived at the Great Ape Trust in May of last year from the language research center at the University of Georgia in Atlanta. Earlier on Friday, prior to his remains being transferred to Iowa State University for the autopsy, his body was placed in the bonobo building for the other bonobos to observe, along with caretakers, so they would have a moment to grieve as well.”

More information about the facility is available on-line at