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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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Press Release

For immediate release
Contact: Gina Stiles * 904.757.4463, ext. 210 * cell: 655.3632 * (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Allison Benevento * 904-757-4463, ext. 211 * (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Quito, the Gorilla, Found Dead in Exhibit

January 28, 2013 - Jacksonville, Fl -

It is with great sadness that the staff of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens reports the passing of Quito, the Zoo’s iconic and much loved Silverback gorilla.  Quito was discovered Sunday morning in the gorilla enclosure, lying down and not moving. He most likely passed away Saturday night.

Initial necropsy findings have not revealed any immediate cause of death, but cardiac failure is suspected. Quito had a family history of heart disease, and he has received heart medication for the past three years. Histopathology results may reveal more details, but tests require weeks of lab work.

Quito was born on June 1, 1981, at Boston’s Stone Zoo.  He came to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in March 1998 from St. Louis Zoo, as part of Jacksonville Zoo’s first gorilla group.  He became troop leader and an instant favorite of Zoo guests and patrons.  His engaging personality, impressive stature and commanding presence attracted a big fan base of people of all ages. Quito’s birthday celebration, held the past two years, has been attended by hundreds of schoolchildren, Zoo supporters and media personnel.

“We are all mourning the loss of Quito,” said Tony Vecchio, Executive Director of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “Quito was one of Jacksonville Zoo and Garden’s most popular animals.  He was also a great ambassador for the Zoo’s mission and its dedication to the conservation of rare and endangered species,” Vecchio concluded.

As a special tribute to Quito, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will contribute five dollars of each paid Zoo admission this Saturday, February 2, to primate conservation. Also, guests can hang their farewell messages to Quito on the bamboo located on the path between the Range of the Jaguar and the first Great Apes window.

About the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

For nearly a century, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Started in 1914 with an animal collection that consisted of one red deer fawn, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens now has more than 1,800 rare and exotic animals. It has won national acclaim for its South American Range of the Jaguar exhibit and regional, state and local awards for its botanical gardens. The Jacksonville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is open year-round, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Christmas day, and is located on Jacksonville’s north side at 370 Zoo Parkway, one-half mile east from I-95.  For more information on the Zoo, log on to http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.