Zoo officials believe heart disease cause of death of gorilla

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 9:37am

The Gladys Porter Zoo family continues to mourn the loss of Moja, a 29 year-old Silverback Western lowland gorilla.

He was a big part of the zoo and gorilla family as he fathered fifteen offspring over the past sixteen years. Keepers say the gorillas are adjusting to having the dominate male gone after a keeper found Moja collapsed in his quarters.

The initial report indicates Moja died of cardiac disease as Facilities Director Jerry Stones said, "He had a coronary problem and he'd been on medication for since 2010. This is one of those things that kills gorillas, especially male gorillas."

Studies are underway to determine if genes are the reason behind heart disease in gorillas or if there's a tie to living in captivity.

Zoo officials are encouraging people to share their memories about Moja on the zoos Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gladysporterzoo?ref=ts&fref=ts

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