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Choomba, one of the world’s oldest living gorillas, euthanized at 59-years-old

Asha C. Gilbert, USA TODAY Published 9:23 a.m. ET Jan. 14, 2022 | Updated 1:21 p.m. ET Jan. 14, 2022

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Choomba, a beloved gorilla at Zoo Atlanta, was euthanized on Thursday at 59-years-old after a decline in her physical condition.

She was the second-oldest gorilla at the zoo and the fourth-oldest in the world, according to a news release from Zoo Atlanta.

Choomba suffered from advanced arthritis and other age-related conditions that brought concern to her quality of life days before her death, the zoo’s statement said. The Animal Care and Veterinary Teams ultimately decided it would be best to euthanize her “given her poor prognosis.”

“This is an extremely difficult day for Zoo Atlanta and most particularly for Choomba’s care team, who knew her intimately and saw and cared for her daily with the greatest dedication,” Jennifer Mickelberg, Vice President of Collections and Conservation, said in the release.

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Choomba was one of the founding gorillas at Zoo Atlanta when she arrived in the 1980s and was the mother of Machi, Kudzoo, and Sukari. She also has grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren living at accredited zoos across the U.S., according to the release.

At 59-years-old, she was considered geriatric and lived in a senior social group with Ozzie, the world’s oldest living male gorilla.

“Choomba leaves a tremendous legacy at Zoo Atlanta, in the zoological gorilla population in North America, and in the hearts of those who knew her best,” Mickelberg said.

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Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: agilbert@usatoday.com.

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