By Bob Uphues
Ramar, a 50-year-old western lowland gorilla who was also Brookfield Zoo's oldest animal, was euthanized April 12 after suffering from a stomach and bowel blockage, according to a press release from the zoo.
Far outliving the 32-year-old median age for male gorillas in North American zoos, Ramar had also suffered from other geriatric ailments, including heart disease and arthritis.
"For several years now, we have been able to intervene and manage Ramar's chronic conditions that have allowed him to live comfortably with little to no pain," said Bill Ziegler, senior vice president of animal care for the Chicago Zoological Society, in the press release. "There comes a time, like in Ramar's case, that we aren't able to stop the progression of age-related ailments."
Ramar was the oldest animal in the zoo's collection at the time of his death and the sixth-oldest western lowland gorilla in a North American zoo.
According to the zoo, press release, Ramar was brought to the United States in 1969 and raised by a human family until he was 6 years old. The North Carolina Zoo acquired Ramar in 1974, and also spent time at zoos in Philadelphia and Miami before coming to Brookfield Zoo in 1998 on a breeding loan.
He sired three offspring and was the dominant male in the gorilla habitat at Tropic World before being challenged by his eldest son, 10-year-old Nadaya, in 2012. In his later years, Ramar was in a separate habitat "more suitable for him to maneuver around due to his geriatric issues," according to the press release.