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Contact(s):Susan Altrui

Monday, November 3, 2008

Male Silverback Gorilla Dies at Little Rock Zoo Sunday

LITTLE ROCK (November 3, 2008) – The Little Rock Zoo is sad to announce the death of a male silverback western lowland gorilla, JJ, or “Jungle Jack,” who died Sunday morning in his exhibit.

Zookeepers fed JJ breakfast in the morning while the gorilla was inside and then went outside to clean exhibit yards in the great ape display. When they returned later that morning JJ was found dead.

In May of this year an echocardiogram revealed that JJ was suffering from congestive heart failure, a disease common in older male great apes. According to Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Marilynn Baeyens, JJ’s heart was only working at about 10% of capacity. Although necropsy reports have not yet confirmed this, Baeyens said she suspects JJ’s heart condition caused his death.

JJ was born at the Columbus Zoo on January 2, 1987 and had been living at the Little Rock Zoo since November of 1993.

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit


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