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Woodland Park Zoo’s oldest gorilla, Amanda, passes away

Photo: Amanda, holding Uzumma in arms by Dennis Dow

Woodland Park Zoo is mourning the loss of Amanda, a 50-year-old female gorilla, who was humanely euthanized today due to a severe decline in health. During the last couple of weeks, the geriatric gorilla’s appetite and activity level were declining.

Amanda was the grandmother of the zoo’s newest baby gorilla, Kitoko, born in March. She was the oldest western lowland gorilla living at the zoo and among the oldest in North America.

In zoos, female gorillas can live in to their 40s and 50s. In the wild, the life expectancy is 30 to 35 years. At 50 years old, Amanda was well into advanced geriatric age, practically double in human years.

Amanda was raised at Toronto Zoo. In 1994 she moved to Woodland Park Zoo where she successfully raised three daughters, including Uzumma, the mother of Kitoko.

“For 26 years at Woodland Park Zoo, Amanda offered a window into the magnificent world of gorillas for our zoo family and community,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Known for her sweet disposition and being an exceptionally good mom, Amanda showed attentive, nurturing maternal love and care for her daughters. We are going to deeply miss this beautiful animal. We’re grateful Amanda lived a long, vibrant life thanks to the love and care provided by our animal care and animal health teams.”

Amanda had been living in the off-view dens since last fall due to age-related blindness and other degenerative issues. Because of her visual impairment, Amanda could no longer safely navigate the public outdoor habitats. Living in the off-view, indoor dens allowed the gorilla keepers to monitor her closely every day and meet her special needs.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the zoo announced it had constructed a new sunning yard that allowed Amanda to be outdoors for part of each day as she chose to. “We’re glad Amanda had the opportunity to enjoy springtime sun and fresh air during the last couple weeks of her life,” said Ramirez. “Amanda still had social interaction with other gorillas and her human caretakers through sounds, smell and touch.”

In addition to Uzumma and Kitoko, the other gorillas living at the zoo are Kitoko’s dad, Kwame; female Nadiri and her daughter, Yola; and female Akenji. Male Vip and female Jumoke live together in a separate group.

To celebrate Amanda’s life and save gorillas, visit www.zoo.org/ecocell. Or adopt a baby gorilla through ZooParent Digital Adoptions. Funds go directly to Woodland Park Zoo’s Relief Fund dedicated to amazing animal care.