Monday 22 January 2018

America's oldest gorilla dies aged 60

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The first gorilla in the world to be born in a zoo has died in the US at the age of 60.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio said on Tuesday that Colo died in her sleep, less than a month after her birthday.

She surpassed the usual life expectancy of captive gorillas by two decades.

"Colo touched the hearts of generations of people who came to see her and those that cared for her over her long lifetime," zoo president Tom Stalf said in a statement.

"She was an ambassador for gorillas and inspired people to learn more about the critically endangered species and motivated them to protect gorillas in their native habitat."

The zoo said the gorilla's body will be cremated and the ashes will be buried at an undisclosed location at the zoo.

Colo was born at the zoo on December 22 1956.

She eventually became a mother of three, grandmother of 16, great-grandmother of 12 and great-great-grandmother of three.

Hundreds of people had gathered at the zoo last month to see Colo for her birthday, when the zoo decorated her enclosure with multicoloured construction paper chains and cakes of squash and beet and cornbread with mashed potato parsley frosting.

Zoo officials said a post-mortem examination was planned to determine Colo's cause of death.

They had recently removed a malignant tumour from Colo, but had said she was doing well.

The necropsy could help show whether the cancer contributed to her death, but the results are not anticipated for several weeks.

Zoo officials said they also planned to take blood and tissue samples to assist with zoologists' efforts to learn more about western lowland gorillas.

Press Association

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