"Beautiful" and "gentle" gorilla at Jersey Zoo dies after cancer battle

Kishka the western lowland gorilla Picture: Rachel Hughes (38059411)

DURRELL has announced the “incredibly sad” death of the eldest western lowland gorilla at Jersey Zoo following a battle with cancer.

Kishka, who was 45-years-old, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2020.

In a statement, Durrell said: “Since then our devoted keepers and vet team have kept a close eye on her and carefully managed her condition. Over the past few weeks, we saw a significant decline in her general wellbeing, so following a thorough review process, we made the difficult decision to put her to sleep.”

The statement added that the gorilla house will remain closed for several days “to allow the troop some time to adjust”.

“Our dedicated gorilla team are working to ensure the rest of the troop, including silverback Badongo, females Bahasha and Hlala Kahilli, and four-year-old Amari, are managed sensitively following Kishka’s passing.

“Beautiful, gentle Kishka will be hugely missed by staff, visitors and volunteers,” it added.

Kishka had been at the Jersey Zoo since 1984, when she was six-years-old.

Ben Matthews, the curator of mammals at Jersey Zoo, said that losing her had been “incredibly sad for everyone at Durrell”.

“Over the years, Kishka was a stalwart of Jersey Zoo’s gorilla troop, taking life in her stride and at her own pace. She was known for her gentle temperament; acting as a stoic, matriarchal figure for many young gorillas, as well as helping to induct generations of young zookeepers into careers with great apes.”

He continued: “The gorilla team work tirelessly each and every day to provide the utmost care for the troop, whether it’s Christmas Day, through inclement weather, or following the loss of an animal like Kishka. They have handled the process carefully and considerately and will continue to monitor the troop closely over the next few weeks.”

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