The Oklahoma City Zoo has announced the death of a female Western lowland gorilla.
Kelele, the 24-year-old gorilla, died about 9 p.m. Friday.
Zoo veterinarians said Kelele was lethargic Friday morning, and that she was uninterested in eating and showed signs of discomfort when she tried to move. She was visually examined and given pain medication.
After her death, the Zoo caretakers allowed her gorilla family time to mourn her before taking her away from the enclosure.
A necropsy (animal autopsy) was preformed Saturday morning. Her cause of death was an intestinal twist. Her condition was severe and progressed quickly. Zoo officials said she appeared to be in good health and did not show symptoms until Friday.
“Kelele was an incredible animal and ambassador for her species, and she will be missed by many,” said Kimberly Lesser, OKC Zoo’s animal curator. “The Zoo’s veterinary and animal care teams are dedicated to providing the best care and welfare possible to the animals entrusted to us. We have the honor of caring for these amazing animals through most all life stages and unfortunately death is part of this process.”
Kelele was born in Toledo Zoo and arrived at the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2000. She gave birth to her only offspring, a male named Leom, in 2013.
The median life expectancy for a female Western lowland gorilla is 38.3 years.