ZooMiami gorilla Josephine dies at 49 years old

MIAMI (WSVN) - ZooMiami’s oldest gorilla Josephine passed away Wednesday afternoon, zoo officials said.

Spokesman Ron Magill told 7News that Josephine died at 2 p.m., and suffered from many ailments including swollen intestines, stomach issues, and a possible tumor.

Josephine was born in the wild in 1967, and has been at ZooMiami since 1983. She was the grandmother of Harambe, the gorilla who was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016 after he was determined to be a threat to a child who fell into his enclosure.

She made headlines in 2009 when she underwent cataract surgery, getting two artificial human lenses implanted in her eyes to restore her eyesight.

“More recently, the nearly 50 year old great ape had been suffering from several health issues that slowly incapacitated her and could not be treated with positive results due to her advanced age,” ZooMiami said on their website. “A variety of exams and tests performed over the last several days showed several abnormalities that indicated systemic terminal conditions that had no chance for positive outcomes or hope for recovery. This morning, when Josephine could hardly move, even to reach for her favorite treat, the staff knew the right thing to do. They made the very difficult decision to humanely euthanize her. That procedure was successfully performed this afternoon.”

Josephine’s passing comes just before she would have turned 50 years old. Gorillas in the wild have a lifespan of approximately 35 to 40 years, but can live more than 50 years in captivity.

News of Josephine’s passing comes just one day after the Columbus Zoo announced that their gorilla, Colo, died at the age of 60. Colo was the oldest gorilla in the U.S.


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