The Cleveland Zoo has reported that 32-year-old western lowland gorilla Bebac has died of heart disease.
Bebac was diagnosed back in 2008 with heart problems. Shortly after his health improved with a changed in diet and medication to control his high blood pressure. This is a common health condition for gorillas in zoos.
But Bebac, a favorite of zoo fans, began failing a month ago, and veterinarians were unable to save his life.
“Little information exists on the heart health of the great apes and possible treatments, and the zoo largely relied on human medical information,” said The Plain Dealer, a Cleveland newspaper.
“It’s been hard on the staff,” zoo director Chris Kuhar told The Associated Press. “It’s like losing a family member.”
Mokolo, 29, who also was diagnosed with heart disease with Bebac has also clearly been affected by the death, according to Kuhar.
“What we’re seeing is Mokolo calling to figure out where Bebac went,” Kuhar said. “We can tell he’s agitated. I think there’s an emotional response there.”