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A Sad Farewell: Vip the Gorilla Passes at Woodland Park Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: March 26, 2021 10:30 pm

Vip the gorilla passes at Woodland Park Zoo

Vip pictured in his enclosure at the Woodland park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo announced that Vip the western lowland gorilla has passed away at 42 years of age. Over past weeks keepers had noticed that he had been lethargic and not eating well but a recent examination did not reveal any major indicators of the cause of this.

Vip was an acronym for Very Important Primate and over his 42 years he was able to celebrate a number of significant milestones. The first of these was being the first gorilla to be born in the Netherlands.

He exceeded the median lifespan of a gorilla by a decade. Gorillas in zoo's continue to live longer due to improved husbandry and management techniques, excellent animal care, better nutrition, increased medical knowledge, and diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.

Vip the gorilla passes at Woodland Park Zoo

Vip pictured in his enclosure at the Woodland park Zoo

Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/ Woodland Park Zoo

From the Netherlands Vip moved to Franklin Park Zoo in Boston before eventually setting down at the Woodland Park Zoo in 1996. He welcomed seven infants over his life span with the final one being Kitoko just one year ago.

Vip spent his final days living alongside his partner, Jumoke.

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“Losing one of our gorillas is deeply sad for our zoo family. During his 25 years at Woodland Park Zoo, Vip was dearly loved by the zoo’s staff, volunteers, members, donors, visitors and the community. In his own right, he became a very important primate to all of us,” said Martin Ramirez, curator of mammals at Woodland Park Zoo.

 

“Vip was a very striking gorilla. While zoo guests would mistakenly think he was grumpy because of his very low brow ridge, he was quite the opposite. He was an excellent companion and took great interest in each of his daughters,” added Ramirez. “As an attentive dad, he led his group with patience, playfulness and kindness. This is a very difficult time for us and a great loss for the North American gorilla population. We will really miss this amazing, very important primate.”

Vip the gorilla passes at Woodland Park Zoo

Vip pictured in his enclosure at the Woodland park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

At 42 years old, Vip was a geriatric gorilla. “Woodland Park Zoo has a formal process to evaluate quality of life daily, sometimes multiple times daily, over the course of weeks or months once there is a concern for an individual’s well-being,” said Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo’s director of animal health. “Vip had been under close observation by his attentive caretakers and on a prescribed program of analgesics and joint medication.”

 

Vip was anesthetized in 2015 for successful sinus surgery along with a routine cardiac ultrasound and EKG as part of the zoo’s preventive health program for its great apes, in 2017 for emergency umbilical hernia surgery repair and in February 2021 for a diagnostic exam. “We‘re very grateful to the team of human medical specialists and veterinary consultants who over the years have generously donated their time and expertise on behalf of our beloved gorilla,” said Collins.

Vets will perform a necropsy on Vip to gain an insight in to what caused his passing. These results will be shared among zoos worldwide to help advance the care for these apes in human care.

Vip the gorilla passes at Woodland Park Zoo

Vip pictured in his enclosure at the Woodland park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Learn more about Western Lowland Gorillas here – Western Lowland Gorilla Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Woodland Park Zoo on their website – Woodland Park Zoo

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