Steve Ross Dead at 53
Dr. Steve Ross, director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes has died. He was 53.
Ross died April 20 in Evanston, where he had lived for years with his wife and their two children.
His death was announced in a statement from Lincoln Park Zoo; the cause of death is still being determined.
In 2000, Steve was hired by Lincoln Park Zoo as a behavior specialist. He conducted a wide breadth of studies that helped influence the design of what became the award-winning Regenstein Center for African Apes, and continues that line of research today in his applied research with chimpanzees, gorillas, and Japanese macaques.
Though Steve has published papers on species as diverse as polar bears, otters, and humans (zoo visitors), his primary focus is improving the welfare of chimpanzees. In 2009, these interests culminated with the initiation of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Project ChimpCARE, which seeks to assess and improve the housing and management of chimpanzees living as pets and performers and in other suboptimal situations. His research on how the inappropriate portrayal of chimpanzees in the popular media affects public attitudes of this species is a unique contribution to these efforts.
With over 25 years of experience studying animal behavior, Steve is enthusiastically supportive of Lincoln Park Zoo’s approach to scientific-based decision-making. He focuses on using science to influence policy that will have positive effects for animal welfare. Studying ape behavior and cognition provides him with unique insights into how these fascinating animals interact with their environments and how to best transform these areas to support their complex needs.
Steve Ross Dead at 53. May his soul rest in Peace