National Zoo’s Only Wild-Born Gorilla Dies

Suffered from congestive heart failure

By John Wist
|  Friday, Mar 18, 2011  |  Updated 9:35 AM EDT
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National Zoo’s Only Wild-Born Gorilla Dies

National Zoo

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One of the National Zoo’s oldest residents has died. Haloko, a 44-year-old female Western Lowland gorilla, was euthanized yesterday after suffering from congestive heart failure.

Haloko was diagnosed with the condition back in December, and was put on a drug regimen. But in the past several days, her condition deteriorated significantly, and zookeepers decided to put her down.

Congestive heart failure is common in Western Lowland gorillas.

Haloko came to the National Zoo in December 1989 on loan from the Philadelphia Zoo. She is also the mother to the zoo’s only silverback gorilla, Baraka, who was born in 1992.

In a statement from the zoo, caregivers describe Haloko as “a very complex character who was self-sufficient, patient and very tolerant of the antics of the juveniles in the group.”

The zoo has six other Western Lowland gorillas, three males and three females, including a baby born in 2009.

who live together at the Great Ape House.

The gorillas are native to tropical forests in Western and Central Africa, and are listed as critically endangered. In captivity, they can live up to 56 years.


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