We’re sorry to report that Colo, the world’s first gorilla to be born in a zoo, has died today, Jan. 17. She was 60 years old, making her the oldest known gorilla on earth. Get all of the heartbreaking details right here.
Colo died in her sleep, less than a month after her 60th birthday, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium confirmed in a press release on Jan. 17. So sad.
“She was the coolest animal I’ve ever worked with and caring for her was the highlight of my career,” assistant curator Audra Meinelt said in the statement. “It was not just about what she meant to the gorilla community but for whom she was as a gorilla. I’m heartbroken but also grateful for the 19 years I had with Colo.” Aww.
Colo was born and raised in captivity, and lived almost two decades longer than most gorillas in the same circumstances. Her December 22, 1956 birthdate made headlines around the world. “At the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium our mantra is to touch the heart to teach the mind,” President and CEO Tom Stalf also said. “Colo touched the hearts of generations of people who came to see her and those that cared for her over her long lifetime. She was an ambassador for gorillas and inspired people to learn more about the critically endangered species and motivated them to protect gorillas in their native habitat.”
It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Colo, the oldest gorilla in the world and the first gorilla born in human care. We welcome you to share your fondest memories and photos of Colo using #ColoGorilla.
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There is a designated area outside of the zoo for those who wish to remember the gorilla, and donations can be made in her memory to support gorilla conservation programs. You can contribute right here.
The animal loving community was also shaken up in May 2016, when Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla, was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a young child fell into his enclosure. The choice to kill the gorilla raised controversy, and has raised a conversation about the need for better standards of care in zoos.
HollywoodLifers, are you bummed that Colo has passed away?