On Wednesday, tears were shed at the Calgary Zoo when a young gorilla named Kimani was humanely euthanized after a short battle with a rare pediatric cancer. Kimani was diagnosed with pediatric liver cancer earlier this month after her care providers noticed that she was lethargic and lacking a robust appetite.
On June 6, the zoo revealed the results of Kimani’s exam:
Kimani has a very serious form of pediatric liver cancer that is affecting her entire liver and has spread to her lungs and the support tissue for her heart, esophagus, and blood vessels (known as the mediastinum). We are working closely with human and veterinary liver and cancer specialists to determine if there are any treatments available to help dear Kimani. We also have consulted with the Gorilla SSP veterinarians for their advice on her unique case, and they have not seen liver cancer in a young gorilla of this age.
Noting that the gorilla’s condition was critical:
Kimani remains in serious to critical condition, and our focus right now is to allow her to stabilize. Although we are searching for all possible advice and options, the cancer is so far advanced that palliative care may be our only option.
Not even three weeks later, the zoo was forced to say a final goodbye:
Tears were shed across the zoo today as we ‘walked Kimani home’.💔
We are heartbroken to share that our Animal Care, Health & Welfare (ACHW) team made the difficult but compassionate decision to euthanize our beloved 6-year-old western lowland gorilla, ‘Kimani’ this morning.
The zoo acknowledged the staff that gave Kimani additional time and announced the temporary closure of the African Rainforest Building:
We’re grateful for the additional 2.5 weeks that our incredible ACHW team was able to give her through exceptional palliative care so that her troop could say goodbye. A heartfelt thanks to the veterinary and medical teams around the world that leaned in to help in any way they could and for the encouraging words from our community during this difficult time.
The African Rainforest Building is closed today while we give the troop privacy to mourn the loss of a troop member. Thank you for your understanding.
(Images via Calgary Zoo)