The Wildlife Conservation Society has announced the sad news that Pattycake, the first gorilla born in New York City, died on Sunday at the Bronx Zoo. She was 40 years old.
According to the WCS, which operates the Bronx Zoo, Pattycake was suffering from chronic cardiac problems and was under medical care due to her advanced age.
The organization noted that a necropsy would be done to determine the animal’s actual cause of death.
“Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo,” said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and WCS Executive Vice President and General Director of Zoos & Aquarium. “Pattycake was a very special animal and her presence will be deeply missed.”
Born on September 3, 1972 at the Central Park Zoo, Pattycake was transferred to the Bronx Zoo in 1982. A favorite by New Yorkers, the female gorilla was actually first named “Sonny Jim” because it was initially thought she was a boy.
The name Pattycake was chosen after the zoo held a “naming” contest and more than 33,000 New York Daily News readers sent in suggestions.
At the time of her death, Pattycake was the 31st oldest gorilla of the 338 on display at North American zoos.
According to Wikipedia, most gorillas live between 35 and 40 years, although zoo gorillas may live for 50 years and more.
Here is a video on gorillas:
Pattycake is survived by 10 offspring that were born at the Bronx Zoo and now live across the country in zoos in Utah; Omaha, Nebraska; Louisville, Kentucky; Buffalo, New York; Detroit, and Boston.