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Published: Wednesday, 2/17/2010

Female gorilla dies at Toledo Zoo


A female gorilla who lived for nearly four decades at the Toledo Zoo died Tuesday afternoon of congestive heart failure, zoo officials said.

The 38-year-old gorilla named Malaika was born at the Toledo Zoo in 1971 and had a daughter and two grandchildren. Her offspring continue to live in the Zoo's Kingdom of the Apes.

Malaika lived unusually long for a gorilla kept in captivity. Life expectancy for gorillas in zoo settings is about 31 years, officials said.

According to a statement, Toledo Zoo authorities noticed a problem with Malaika after she developed a stubborn cough 10 days ago. She was immobilized Tuesday for a complete examination that revealed she had heart and kidney problems. During recovery from the anesthesia, Malaika went into full cardiopulmonary arrest and could not be revived.

Anne Baker, the zoo's executive director, expressed sadness at Malaika's passing, but said in the statement that the gorilla had made a great contribution to the zoo and the preservation of her species.

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