50-year-old Zoo Atlanta gorilla dies

Updated:

Zoo Atlanta's 50-year-old western lowland gorilla, Ivan, died Monday.

ATLANTA - A 50-year-old gorilla died at Zoo Atlanta on Monday.

The western lowland gorilla, Ivan, was placed under anesthesia during a diagnostic assessment but never woke up, the zoo said in a news release. The release said Ivan’s health had been declining.

“The veterinary team had been observing Ivan carefully in recent weeks following weight loss, apparent lack of appetite, and a respiratory illness. When it became obvious that our efforts to modify his diet and his existing medication regimen were not resulting in significant improvement, it was necessary to perform a diagnostic procedure to determine the underlying causes of Ivan’s condition,” said Veterinary Services Director Hayley Murphy.

Ivan had been with Zoo Atlanta since 1994. He was sold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a department store in Washington and became known as “The Shopping Mall Gorilla.”

Facing criticism from animal rights activists, the gorilla was donated to a Seattle Zoo, then transferred to Zoo Atlanta. Ivan was one of four Zoo Atlanta gorillas who are 50 years old or older.

“This is a tremendous loss to the Zoo Atlanta family, and it is a loss that spans two coasts. It’s because of the great love Ivan inspired in his years on the West Coast that the wheels were ultimately put in motion to have him join us here at Zoo Atlanta,” said Zoo Atlanta President Raymond King.