Monday, October 04, 2010

Alvila, First Gorilla Born At San Diego Zoo, Dies At Age 45

Alvila, the first gorilla born at the San Diego Zoo and a favorite of zoo visitors for decades, died Thursday morning after several years of declining health.

The offspring of Albert and Vila, two gorillas brought to the zoo from Africa, Alvila was born June 3, 1965, a birth that gained national headlines.

As she declined in recent days, older gorillas gathered nearby, bringing food to her, seemingly to offer her comfort. She had suffered a series of old-age maladies, including severe arthritis in her knees since 1989 and had undergone back surgery in 2002.

The other gorillas at the zoo were allowed to see her one last time Thursday morning after her death, zoo officials said.

Alvila had four offspring and among the zoo's gorillas assumed a maternal role. She adopted a baby gorilla, Imani , in the mid-1990s that had been abandoned by its mother. She seemed to enjoy watching younger gorillas engaging in rough-and-tumble play.

Full story here.

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