Colo, a Western lowland gorilla, was found dead on Tuesday
morning in her enclosure, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said in
a statement. She had been born at the same property on Dec. 22,
1956 and five years passed before another gorilla was born in
captivity in the United States, the zoo said.
The zoo celebrated her 60th birthday less than a month ago weeks
after a malignant tumor was removed from under her arm on Dec.
3. She was the oldest gorilla on record and exceeded her normal
life expectancy by more than two decades, said Patty Peters, a
There had been no sign that Colo was unwell as some 13,000
visited the zoo on Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday,
Peters said in a phone interview.
"There were lines of people. She interacted with guests all
day," Peters said.
Colo, whose name was a play on Columbus, was the mother of
three, grandmother of 16, great grandmother of 12 and had three
great-great offspring. Her oldest, Emmy, was the first
second-generation gorilla born in a zoo and her grandchild,
Cora, was the first third-generation gorilla born in captivity.
Gorillas, typically found in lowland and mountain tropical
rainforests in central Africa, are the world's largest primates,
the mammalian group that includes lemurs, monkeys, apes and
humans. Adult males reach up to about 440 pounds (200 kg).
There are approximately 350 gorillas of all species in
accredited zoos across the United States and an estimated
150,000 to 250,000 Western lowland gorillas left in the world,
the zoo said in a statement. Gorillas are listed as endangered
due to loss of habitat, poaching, and susceptibility to
Colo will be cremated and her ashes buried at an undisclosed
location at the Columbus Zoo. Results of the necropsy to further
define the cause of death are expected in approximately four
(Editing by Scott Malone; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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