World's Oldest Male Gorilla Dead in Georgia's Atlanta Zoo
23:40 GMT 25.01.2022 (Updated: 23:42 GMT 25.01.2022)
The cause of the gorilla's death remains unknown. The statement said that a necropsy, or the non-human equivalent of an autopsy, will be performed through the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service at the College of Veterinary Medicine soon.
The death of the world's oldest male gorilla Ozzie was announced
by Zoo Atlanta, located in the state of Georgia's capital city, on Tuesday.
According to the statement, Ozzie died at the age of 61, quite a venerable age for the species, which tend to live just 35-40 years in the wild, per scientists. Ozzie was the oldest gorilla at Zoo Atlanta and the third-oldest gorilla in the world, according to the statement.
Ozzie's body was discovered on Tuesday by his care staff. The zoo said that last Thursday, January 20, he showed signs of diminished appetite, and the Animal Care and Veterinary Teams provided him with supportive care to encourage the gorilla to eat and drink. The teams are said to have treated
him for the past 24 hours after he displayed symptoms such as face swelling, weakness, and an inability to eat or drink.
"This is a devastating loss for Zoo Atlanta. While we knew this time would come someday, that inevitability does nothing to stem the deep sadness we feel at losing a legend," Raymond B. King, president and CEO of the zoo is quoted as saying. "Ozzie’s life’s contributions are indelible, in the generations of individuals he leaves behind in the gorilla population and in the world’s body of knowledge in the care of his species. Our thoughts are with his care team, who have lost a part of their lives and a part of their hearts."
Zoo Atlanta stated that in his long lifetime, Ozzie had become a "true living legend," symbolizing along with his peer Willie B., a renowned gorilla who died in 2000, the zoo's revival in the 1980s. Ozzie was the solitary survivor of the first group of gorillas who arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 1988 with the establishment of The Ford African Rain Forest.
In 2009, he made zoological history by becoming the first gorilla in the world to take a voluntary blood pressure reading. At the time of his achievement, he was at the age of 48 and considered geriatric by officials. The geriatric distinction is given after gorillas reach 40.
Ozzie is survived by his daughter Kuchi, sons Kekla, Stadi, and Charlie, granddaughter Lulu, great-granddaughter Andi, and great-grandson Floyd, who are also Zoo Atlanta residents. His children, grandkids, and great-grandchildren live at different accredited zoos around the US and Canada.
Last September, the gorillas at Zoo Atlanta contracted
COVID-19. The zoo said then that it had used monoclonal antibodies to treat gorillas that were in danger of having complications. Officials said there were no indications
that the gorillas could transmit the virus to humans, and that since tourists are already kept at a far distance from the primates, there were no added concerns of spreading the respiratory illness.
Western lowland gorillas are on the verge of extinction. Over a 25-year period, the combined threats of poaching, illegal bushmeat hunting, habitat loss, and emerging diseases have reduced western lowland gorilla populations by 60%, with declines of up to 90% in some parts of their range in western Africa, according to the zoo, citing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).