Posted on August 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM
Wednesday, Aug 3 at 5:01 PM
LOUISVILLE, Ky (Louisville Zoo) Timmy, the oldest male western lowland gorilla in North America, passed away Tuesday at the age of 52. The average lifespan for most male gorilla’s is early-to-mid 40s.
Timmy had experienced chronic medical problems in recent years including heart disease (cardiomyopathy), heart arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation) and chronic osteoarthritis. He had responded well to treatment of these conditions for several months, but he began to decline in recent weeks.
Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures performed did not improve his condition. Specialists in cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopedics, and geriatric medicine were consulted for his care. Because of his rapidly deteriorating condition, the Louisville Zoo veterinary staff chose to humanely euthanize Timmy.
“This is the most difficult decision zoo professionals have to make,” said Dr. Roy Burns, the Zoo’s veterinarian. “But we are confident that we made the right one.“
Born in 1959, Timmy was an easy going silverback gorilla. He was wild born in Cameroon in west central Africa and had lived at the Cleveland Zoo since 1966 before being moved to the Bronx Zoo in 1991 as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. Timmy’s transfer to the Bronx Zoo was important because his genes were unrepresented in the managed gorilla population and he was in a position to provide additional and stronger diversity to future generations of gorillas. Timmy sired 13 gorillas including a rare set of twins. He was moved to the Louisville Zoo in 2004 where he was a popular resident of the Zoo’s award-winning Gorilla Forest. Across three communities he was a great ambassador for his species, well loved and admired by visitors from around the country.
Gorilla Forest is now home to ten western lowland gorillas – Bengati, Cecil, Demba, Helen, Jelani, Kicho, Kweli, Mia Moja, Mshindi and Paki. Two pygmy hippos also call Gorilla Forest home – Hope and Maji Kitoto; four patas monkeys are also managed there – Mojo, Cassie, Ripley and Acacia.