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Toledo Zoo Gorilla With Heart Problems Dies

Animals  (tags: gorilla, died, in zoo, Heart Disease, sadness )

- 2107 days ago -
TOLEDO (AP) -- A 38-year-old gorilla at the Toledo Zoo has died.

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Lone wolf (1448)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 7:08 am
Toledo Zoo gorilla dies of heart failure
Malaika was one of first born locally

Malaika’s birth in 1971 was the result of sustained efforts by animal experts at the Toledo Zoo to bring about successful gorilla pregnancies in captivity. She was the 33rd gorilla to be born in captivity in the United States. Her parents were brought to Toledo from the wild in 1957. She leaves behind a daughter and two grandchildren.

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A female gorilla who died this week of congestive heart failure after nearly four decades at the Toledo Zoo will be sorely missed, zoo officials said yesterday.

The 38-year-old gorilla named Malaika was one of the first gorillas born at the zoo after her parents were brought to Toledo from the wild in 1957.

Her birth in 1971 was the result of sustained efforts by animal experts at the zoo to bring about successful gorilla pregnancies in captivity. Malaika was the 33rd gorilla to be born in captivity in the United States.

Malaika has a daughter, Johari, and two grandchildren, a male called Bwenzi and a female named Dara. Her offspring continue to live in the zoo’s Kingdom of the Apes, along with four other gorillas.

The zoo’s chief veterinarian, Chris Hanley, said many workers were saddened by Malaika’s passing.

“A lot of people, our keepers — some of them have worked with her for a long time,” Dr. Hanley said. “It’s part of the job, but it’s the hardest part of the job.”

Malaika had a longer life than most gorillas in captivity — life expectancy for gorillas in zoo settings is about 31 years, Dr. Hanley said.

Zoo authorities noticed a problem with Malaika after she developed a stubborn cough 11 days ago.

She was immobilized Tuesday for a complete examination that revealed she had heart and kidney problems. During recovery from the anesthesia, Malaika went into full cardiopulmonary arrest and could not be revived.

Dr. Hanley said it is usually difficult to determine when wild animals are suffering from a serious disease, and small symptoms such as a cough can indicate graver problems.

He said anesthetizing an animal carries risks and is not the first option when an animal is sick, but the procedure was deemed necessary in this case because Malaika was not responding to treatment for her cough. He said the anesthesia may have put an additional strain on her heart.

“It’s always a balance, but we wouldn’t have been able to work out what was wrong if we hadn’t done that,” Dr. Hanley said.

He added: “She was pretty long into the disease.”

Anne Baker, the zoo’s executive director, expressed sadness at Malaika’s passing, but said in a statement that the gorilla had made a great contribution to the zoo and the continuation of her species.

“By bringing three offspring into the zoo gorilla population, Malaika played an important part of the preservation of the species during her long life,” Ms. Baker said. “Even as we miss her, we take comfort in the legacy that she left behind.”

Gorillas in captivity often suffer from heart and kidney disease as they age, Dr. Hanley said.

Malaika’s 38 years are equivalent to more than 80 years of age for a human, he said.

“In a lot of ways, gorillas are similar to us, including some of the geriatric diseases” they suffer from, Dr. Hanley said.

Another female gorilla, Elaine, died at the zoo in October at age 42, Dr. Hanley said.

Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at: cbarrett@theblade.coor 419-724-6272

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 7:50 am
noted~ Reading this has my emotions all over the place. May she rest in peace.
Thank you for sharing.

Margaret S. (69)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 8:31 am
38 is old,but sad to read she has died.

Adrian Davis (49)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 10:05 am
Sad... Noted.

Laura H. (946)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 10:56 am
Malaika is free now...

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 12:07 pm
I am so sad to hear, and more sad knowing that so small number of gorilla left.

Greg K. (11)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 12:24 pm
We are fortunate to be able to see animals like this anywhere. To think of a life behind bars is very sad, but to thank her for allowing us to know her a little may soften the loss.

Virginie Duris (20)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 12:25 pm
Bizarre, tout de même, que les gorilles vivants en captivité aient ces problèmes rénaux et cardiaques!
Pauvre Malaka! Elle ne sera sans doute pas la seule même si ses congénères en captivité vivent plus longtemps.
Il y a réellement un problème à résoudre, là!!!!!!!!!!

Josephine Townsend (0)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 12:50 pm
This is sad. I also feel badly for the zoo personal who feel their loss more than the remote public who is not part of their our? gorillas life.

Nichole L. (69)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 1:00 pm
Very sad. Like Judy K., I want to thank you for telling us a little bit about this gorilla. Rest in peace and freedom, Malaika.

pam w. (138)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 4:36 pm
Judy...unless you've been to Toledo zoo, we don't KNOW that her life was "behind bars." Because it's an accredited zoo, I can guarantee you that she had lots of enrichment, good medical care and a much longer and safer life than she EVER would have had in Africa. She also had young ones, so her genes are not lost but will be passed on, to ensure that gorillas don't vanish from the earth.

Josephine is absolutely right (and very kind) to extend sympathy for the primate keepers who are undoubtedly devastated right now. Keepers at my zoo will send letters of condolence, even if we don't know those keepers personally.

That's the way it's done.

Carol V. (28)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 5:56 pm
How very sad but no more pain. Thank you for sharing...

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 6:14 pm

Cheryl B. (207)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 9:14 pm
I have a special place in my heart for primates. Rest in peace dear Malaika.

Cheryl Ulrich (109)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 10:19 pm
Always sad when an animals' life ends ... :(

Cathy L. (12)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 10:33 pm
Who would choose to live a long life in a cage?

pam w. (138)
Sunday February 21, 2010, 11:43 pm
Perhaps an endangered animal whose relatives live in countries where humans are shooting them for meat/trophies? Or perhaps an animal living in an area where people are in constant civil war?

Obviously, endangered species cannot "choose" to live in zoos. BUT...since 99.99% of all animals in zoos were BORN there, gorillas like Malailka are as comfortable in their zoo home as YOU are in yours.

Paritosh P. (26)
Monday February 22, 2010, 2:40 am
very sad

Paritosh P. (26)
Monday February 22, 2010, 2:42 am

mrs m. (1674)
Monday February 22, 2010, 3:04 am

Gita Sasi Dharan (45)
Monday February 22, 2010, 3:30 am
Malaika , may your soul rest in peace.A tearful farewell.

sherrie e. (147)
Monday February 22, 2010, 7:23 am
She lived a long and safe from abuse and poachers. She was born in captivity and had never known any other life. She had other gorilla companions, plenty of choice food, and I'm sure she had a comfortable life! Rest in peace Malaika you are greatly missed! Thanx for sharing!

Yu L. (41)
Monday February 22, 2010, 10:50 am
Rest In Peace

Beth P. (32)
Monday February 22, 2010, 4:15 pm
Thank you Malaika for sharing your life with us humans. May you be blessed on the Other Side. I'm so happy that you left this Earth being loved and cared for.

kathryn cook (628)
Monday February 22, 2010, 5:21 pm
rest in peace

Erin R. (170)
Monday February 22, 2010, 5:52 pm
How sad! :-(

Victoria Hendrickson (12)
Monday February 22, 2010, 7:05 pm
Malaika will be greatly missed.

Kristen H. (1)
Monday February 22, 2010, 9:09 pm
I'm glad she lived a long life!

Yu L. (41)
Tuesday February 23, 2010, 10:56 am
sad news =(

. (0)
Sunday March 14, 2010, 2:30 pm
Scientists think they have uncovered at least one of the reasons
How many people have Diabetes

doreen rasanen (0)
Saturday January 8, 2011, 12:36 pm
I truly wonder if zoos really care about their animals, because they allow
humans to be noisy, rude, and obscene, and allow the visitors to gawk,
snicker, kick and bang their windows and run around and make quick move-
ments to rile the gorillas and othe animals for the humans sadistic
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