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First gorilla born at Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium dies

PITTSBURGH — The first ever gorilla to be born at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium has died.

The zoo said Mrithi, a 31-year-old silverback western lowland gorilla, had recently been showing mobility problems and officials suspected spinal issues.

Mrithi’s condition suddenly declined this week and he died Thursday while undergoing an anesthetic procedure to help determine the cause of his symptoms, the zoo said.

Mrithi was born to parents Mimbo and Zakula on June 1, 1992. The zoo said he became one of its most popular residents.

Mrithi became silverback of the group in 2005 after the passing of his father, according to the zoo. He had three offspring with Moka: Ivan (born April 11, 2013), Frank (born May 25, 2018) and Bo (born May 11, 2023). He is also the father of Charlotte, who was born last Valentine’s Day to Ibo.

“Mrithi was a wonderful father and played often with his boys,” said Assistant Mammal Curator Karen Vacco. “It wasn’t unusual to arrive in the morning to happy rumbles (gorilla laughing) coming from the gorilla bedrooms to find a ball of rolling gorillas with Mrithi in the middle. His favorite thing in the summer was to roll in the pool then tumble in the grass to dry off.”

The zoo said western lowland gorillas have a lifespan of 30 to 40 years in their natural habitat.

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