The San Francisco Zoo is mourning the passing of “Zura,” a female Western lowland gorilla who was a favorite of zoo visitors for generations of Bay Area families.
Zura was 39 years old.
Zoo officials said its veterinary staff had been treating Zura for long-term digestive issues with specialized treatment, but recently her condition worsened.
Zura was a San Francisco Zoo fixture since her arrival from the Columbus Zoo in 1982. She was the granddaughter of the Columbus Zoo’s world-renowned “Colo,” the first gorilla born under human care more than 60 years ago.
The gorilla resided in the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve, one of the first naturalistic habitats for gorillas when it opened in 1980. Through the years, Zura served as an “auntie” to many of the troop’s offspring, although she never had any offspring of her own.
“Zura had a beautiful, distinctive face and a one-of-a-kind personality, and so many of our guests recognized her when they visited,” said Tanya M. Peterson, chief executive officer and executive director of the San Francisco Zoological Society. “As one of our older females, she lived among different generations of our gorilla troop, from the great silverback, ‘Bwana’ to our gentle, contemplative silverback, ‘OJ’. She will be missed by all of us.”
The zoo is also home to four Western lowland gorillas, an adult male silverback and three adult females.