Ozzie, the world’s oldest male gorilla dies at age 61

The world’s oldest male gorilla and the third-oldest gorilla in the world has died at the age of 61.

ZOO ATLANTA (JAN 26, 2022).- Ozzie was “found deceased by his care team” on Tuesday, Zoo Atlanta confirmed in a news release. His cause of death is not yet known, though he had recently exhibited a decreased appetite, facial swelling, and weakness.

A necropsy, the equivalent of an autopsy for a gorilla, will be performed on Ozzie, the zoo confirmed.

“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 Zoo Atlanta said in the news release.

“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,” he added.

Ozzie, the world's oldest male gorilla, was found dead at Zoo Atlanta on Jan. 25, 2022. He was 61.
Ozzie, the world’s oldest male gorilla, was found dead at Zoo Atlanta on Jan. 25, 2022. He was 61.

Ozzie made history in 2009, after becoming the “first gorilla in the world ever to participate in a voluntary blood pressure reading,” according to the zoo. Zoo Atlanta noted that gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of 40.

A group of gorillas at the zoo, including Ozzie, tested positive for COVID-19 last year. Officials said he showed mild symptoms during his infection.

The beloved animal is survived by children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren who live at Zoo Atlanta and other zoos in the United States and Canada.

Ozzie was a western lowland gorilla,a species that is critically endangered. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the animals have been targeted by poaching, habitat loss, and more.

Ozzie’s death comes after Choomba, another gorilla at Zoo Atlanta, was euthanized earlier this month. Choomba was 59 years old, and she was the fourth-oldest gorilla in the world.

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