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World’s oldest male gorilla dies at Georgia zoo

Ozzie, the world's oldest male gorilla, has died at the age of 61.
Ozzie, the world's oldest male gorilla, has died at the age of 61.(Zoo Atlanta via WGCL)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:00 PM CST
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ATLANTA (CBS46/Gray News) — The world’s oldest male gorilla has died at the age of 61 at a Georgia zoo.

Ozzie, who was the third oldest gorilla in the world, was found deceased by his care team on Jan. 25.

Ozzie’s cause of death is not known at this time. He exhibited decreased appetite since last Thursday and the animal care team has been encouraging him to eat and drink.

Over the last 24 hours, the team noticed facial swelling, weakness, and inability to eat or drink.

A necropsy, which is the non-human equivalent of an autopsy, will be performed.

Ozzie was a true living legend in the fabric of Zoo Atlanta’s history and, like his peer the late Willie B., was an icon in his own time, symbolic of the dramatic rebirth of the Zoo in the 1980s, according to the zoo. He was the only surviving member of the original generation of gorillas who arrived at Zoo Atlanta with the opening of The Ford African Rain Forest in 1988.

He made zoological history in 2009, when he became the first gorilla in the world ever to participate in a voluntary blood pressure reading. Remarkably, he was geriatric even at the time of that accomplishment, at age 48. Gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of about 40.

Ozzie is survived by daughter Kuchi; sons Kekla, Stadi, and Charlie; granddaughter Lulu; great-granddaughter Andi, and great-grandson Floyd, all of whom live at Zoo Atlanta. His legacy also includes children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren living at other accredited zoos in the U.S. and Canada.

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. Twenty-four gorillas have been born at Zoo Atlanta.

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