January 27, 2018 / 7:51 AM / a month ago

One of world's oldest gorillas dies at San Diego Zoo

(Reuters) - One of the world’s oldest known gorillas, Vila, died at age 60 on Thursday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, local media reported.

The African-born western lowland gorilla was estimated to have been born in 1957 in the Congo and was hand-raised at the San Diego Zoo, according to the zoo’s website.

“She will be missed by zoo members, guests, volunteers and staff,” Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at Safari Park said in a media statement, The San Diego Union-Tribune and other media reported late Friday.

Zoo officials did not disclose the cause of death to the media and a spokesperson was not immediately available.

Vila was the matriarch of five generations of gorillas, largest of the great apes, the zoo’s website said. The species typically has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years in the wild, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

The species is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Tom Hogue

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