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Mouth Injury Apparent Culprit in Death of Philadelphia Zoo’s Gorilla

(File photo.  Credit: Phila. Zoo)

(File photo. Credit: Phila. Zoo)

Tim Jimenez Tim Jimenez
Tim Jimenez is a general assignment reporter at KYW Newsradio...
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By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Officials at the Philadelphia Zoo have now determined why one of their popular gorillas died unexpectedly last month.

Citing necropsy results, they say it was an accute bacterial infection that killed Jabari, one of their iconic gorillas (see related story).

“It was very, very hard on our staff. And we’re still trying to get over it,” says Dr. Keith Hinshaw, director of animal health at the zoo.

Hinshaw says Jabari, a 28-year-old western lowland gorilla, had not been himself and they were trying to figure out why.  He says Jabari had a history of dental issues so, on August 9th, they wanted to check his mouth.

“We gave him the normal anesthetic drugs that we have used on him before, but this time, as he started to fall asleep, we could tell that there was something really wrong.  And as soon as he was asleep he stopped breathing.”

A tracheotomy and other emergency efforts did not work, Hinshaw says, and Jabari was gone.

The infection likely starting in a very small wound under his tongue that had not been previously seen.

Jabari spent nine years in Philadelphia and was the largest animal in the primate reserve.

 

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