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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Mourns Death of Infant Gorilla

March 28, 2014 - Jacksonville, Fl -

It is with great sadness that Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announces the passing of a gorilla infant born early this morning. The infant was born to first-time mother, Madini, and first-time father, Lash.

“The loss of an infant can be a traumatic experience for gorilla mothers,” said Tracy Fenn, supervisor of mammals at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “Madini’s gorilla companions and human keepers will support her through the mourning process.”

Fetal heartbeat was strong on the Zoo’s sonogram two days ago and the birth did occur during the normal gestation range of 237 – 285 days for gorillas. The cause of death is currently unknown but possibilities include stillbirth and death during labor. Zoo veterinarians will complete a thorough necropsy to try to identify the cause.  Infant mortality is not uncommon with gorillas, and first-time mothers have a 50 percent higher rate than second-time mothers. Keepers noted Madini did everything she was supposed to do after the birth which is a hopeful sign as Madini will be allowed to continue breeding when she is ready.

“Staff is in mourning,” said Dan Maloney, Deputy Director of Conservation and Education. “We are thankful that Madini is doing well, but the zoo was so excited about the prospect of a gorilla baby, that we are profoundly disappointed, and can only look to the future with hope.” 

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About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
For 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.