ATLANTA, Georgia: Zoo Atlanta’s gorilla, one of the oldest in captivity at 59 years, was euthanized on January 13 due to its deteriorating health.
Choomba was the fourth oldest gorilla in captivity worldwide, according to zoo officials.
The decision to euthanize the gorilla took into account her suffering from the final stage of an arthritic condition, in addition to a host of age-related maladies. Members of the zoo’s animal care and veterinarian teams said there was little chance of recovery.
"This is an extremely difficult day for Zoo Atlanta, and most particularly for Choomba’s care team, who knew her intimately and saw and cared for her daily with the greatest dedication," said Zoo Vice President Jennifer Mickelberg, as quoted in a statement.
Being one of the initial gorillas at the zoo following her arrival in the 1980s, Choomba has given birth to gorillas Kudzoo, Sukari, and Machi.
At 59, Choomba was considered elderly and resided among a group of aged gorillas alongside Ozzie, the oldest male gorilla in captivity worldwide.
"Choomba leaves a tremendous legacy at Zoo Atlanta, in the zoological gorilla population in North America, and in the hearts of those who knew her best," Mickelberg added.