- The world's oldest male gorilla, 61-year-old Ozzie, was found dead at Zoo Atlanta in the United States
- Ozzie was among the 13 gorillas at the same zoo who tested positive for COVID-19 in 2021
- The cause of death is yet to be established, but the ape has recently been treated for facial swelling, weakness and an inability to eat or drink
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Ozzie, the world's oldest male gorilla, has died at a zoo in the US aged 61, Zoo Atlanta officials have confirmed.
The western lowland silverback primate was found dead by the team of warders who have been taking care of him, NBC News reports.
According to a statement issued by the zoo's management, Ozzie's cause of death was not immediately known.
The statement further indicated that the zoo would share results of the animal's necropsy once the details are issued by the University of Georgia's veterinary college.
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It is, however, important to note that the ape had been treated for facial swelling, weakness and an inability to eat or drink over the last 24 hours.
Zoo Atlanta CEO Raymond King termed the demise of the animal with a taste for oranges and cabbage a devastating loss for the park.
"While we knew this time would come someday, that inevitability does nothing to stem the deep sadness we feel at losing a legend," he mourned.
Ozzie, who weighed 158kg at the time of his death, was a "terrific father" who had fathered 12 gorillas since he arrived at the zoo in 1988.
Statistics from the World Wildlife Fund Poaching indicate that poaching and diseases have reduced the population of the apes by 60 percent, which is leaving them endangered.
Ozzie tested positive for COVID-19 in 2021
Ozzie was among the 13 gorillas at Zoo Atlanta who tested positive for COVID-19 in 2021, with officials indicating that they contracted the virus from an asymptomatic employee.
This happened even as the worker was fully vaccinated and was wearing protective equipment.
The decision to carry out COVID-19 tests on the animals was informed when two of them started coughing.
Source: Briefly News