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Zoo’s gorilla, Pongi, dies at 49

Zoo’s gorilla, Pongi, dies at 49

/Photo courtesy Graham S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Zoo community is mourning the loss of a female western lowland gorilla who died Saturday.

Pongi’s death followed an examination earlier in the day after keepers noticed she was lethargic, trembling, suffering elevated respiration and a droopy lip, said vice president of community relations Patty Peters.

Peters says Pongi, believed to be 49 years old, never fully recovered after the exam performed by zoo veterinarians and human health care specialists including a cardiologist.

A necropsy is being performed, Peters said.

The median life expectancy for gorillas is approximately 37 years, a risky time for most mammals, according to Peters.

Pongi had three offspring of her own at the zoo and served as surrogate mother to three more, zoo president and CEO Tom Stalf said.

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