Washington: The worlds first gorilla born in a zoo, a female named Colo died in her sleep overnight, less than one month after her 60th birthday, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in US state of Ohio said.
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.
Raised in a nursery by humans, Colo has never left the Columbus Zoo. She surpassed the usual life expectancy of captive gorillas by two decades, Xinhua news agency reported.
She had surgery on December 3 to remove a malignant tumor, though it is not known if cancer contributed to her death.
“She was the coolest animal I’ve ever worked with and caring for her was the highlight of my career,” said Colo’s curator Audra Meinelt in the statement from the zoo.
“It was not just about what she meant to the gorilla community but what she was as a gorilla. I’m heartbroken but also grateful for the 19 years I had with Colo.”
Following an autopsy, Colo will be cremated and her ashes will be be buried at an undisclosed location at the zoo, said the statement.
“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.”