After pounding its chest and hooting, a longtime resident of the Gladys Porter Zoo – Moja a silverback gorilla – died suddenly, according to a news release.
Moja, 29, collapsed Monday in his behind-the-scenes quarters shortly after 10 a.m.
“Moja was a trim, fit animal – the perfect picture of a magnificent silverback male,” said Dr. Patrick Burchfield, the Zoo’s Executive Director. “He was both gentle and caring toward the members of his family.”
In September 2010 he was diagnosed with heart disease, the most common cause of death in captive male gorillas in the U.S. Like humans, Moja was placed on medication.
Moja was born March 4, 1984 at Zoo Miami and was transferred to Gladys Porter Zoo on breeding loan July 3, 1997. He fathered 13 offspring during his 16 years in Brownsville.
Native to the lowland forests of Africa, Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered due to habitation loss and trade in bush meat.