Wednesday, September 4, 2013

RIP Nkosi Gorilla

Nkosi Gorilla, silverback and troop leader at the North Carolina Zoo has died in the prime of life. As you will recall, Nkosi did not come out last Monday, and was being kept under observation behind the scenes. I was not aware then of what was happening, and details continue to be unclear, but now the Zoo's Facebook page has this:
According to the Zoo’s Curator of Mammals Adrian Fowler, Nik became ill more than a week ago with symptoms that included headaches and loss of appetite. His condition had “waxed and waned” over the ensuing week until early Sunday morning when he “finally collapsed,”...
Things got so bad that euthanasia become the only option. There will be a necropsy, and hopefully we'll have answers as to what went wrong with this handsome, young, strong male. Born on  26 September, 1991 at the Columbus Zoo, Nkosi was not quite 22 years old and is survived by his mother Toni, daughter to Colo, the world's oldest living gorilla, and the first gorilla ever born in captivity. He was father to three, our own Bomassa and Apollo, both just one year old, and Columbus's Dotty, born in 2004. The boys are going to have a rough time without their daddy.

Seen below, Nik, as he was called by the keepers, consoled Olympia, tenderly stroking her face,  as she held Apollo after a scuffle. The jobs of the silverback are to breed, to protect his ladies and their babies, and to keep the peace within the troop.  His absence leaves a huge hole in the fabric of the troop. Nik's kindness, patience and magnificence in fulfilling his duties is unmatchable.