|Beautiful Nina. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.|
A great grandmother and the bedrock of our gorilla groups, Nina passed away today at the age of 47.
The elderly gorilla had received such tender, specialized care from her keepers in her final geriatric years, but old age caught up with her today.
After a normal morning of eating and resting, Nina was not visible in any of her favorite spots in the exhibit later in the morning. When the keepers became concerned and started looking for her, she was spotted, not moving, under a large tree. Nina was taken to our veterinary hospital where animal care and veterinary staff made the humane decision to euthanize her.
|Nina enjoying a birthday treat earlier this year. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.|
Earlier this year many of you joined us for a special celebration in honor of Nina, her silverback mate Pete, as well as orangutan twins, Towan and Chinta, all of whom celebrated their 47th birthdays this winter. These ape old timers remind us how far we have come as a zoo and as a community.
|Nina as an infant at Woodland Park Zoo.|
In Nina’s lifetime, Woodland Park Zoo opened its first immersive exhibits and transformed the homes of its animals. Our veterinary science advanced in leaps and bounds, which allowed us to provide such extraordinary lifelong care for Nina. And our knowledge of gorillas greatly increased, learning from Nina’s incredible example as a mother—both biological and adoptive—grandmother and great grandmother.
|Nina with daughter, Kami, born in 1977.|
How many hearts she must have touched in her many years.
How many smiles she must have earned from children tickled by her signature, outthrust tongue.
How many minds she must have opened of those who found a bit of themselves reflected in her wise eyes.
We were lucky to have known you, Nina. Thank you.
|Photo by Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo.|