Texas – On Tuesday afternoon, the Gladys Porter Zoo made a heartbreaking announcement to the public. Martha, a Western lowland gorilla, died unexpectedly:
Gladys Porter Zoo staff are shocked and devastated to relay the news that Martha, a beloved member of the Zoo’s Western lowland gorilla troop, passed away unexpectedly last Tuesday night. She was 32 years old.
Walter DuPree, Curator of Mammals said:
Martha loved to interact with the public. I remember she’d put her ear to the glass, tap and wait for guests to tap back. She was also a proud mom who loved to show off her and her sisters’ babies to visitors.
According to a release from the zoo, Martha was “slow to respond” to her keepers on the day that she passed away. She was being treated for a urinary tract infection but she did not display any sign of something more serious. But a necrospy revealed the cause of her death.
“Upon necropsy, we found that she had multiple organ abnormalities, which, in turn, created a life-ending cascade,” said Dr. Tom deMaar, the Zoo’s Senior Veterinarian. “The cascade began with fibrosing heart disease, which led to renal failure.”
Martha was the last gorilla baby born to the Zoo’s matriarch and patriarch, Katunga and Lamydoc. While Lamydoc and Katunga produced 11 offspring, Katunga was never very interested in raising any of them. Accordingly, Martha was raised by staff and then successfully integrated back into the troop. The zoo said that she was an “excellent mother” to her six offspring.
Rest in peace Martha.