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Zoo Miami Gorilla Treated For Bite Wounds & Receives COVID-19 Tests

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A fight among brothers at Zoo Miami landed "Shango" the lowland gorilla nursing some wounds.

"Shango," a 31-year-old male lowland gorilla was immobilized and transported to the Zoo Miami animal hospital on Wednesday for treatment of several wounds inflicted by his 26-year-old brother, "Barney," during a recent confrontation.  He also received X-rays, vaccinations, an ultrasound, a TB test and a bronchoscopy as part of the zoo's overall preventative medicine program.

In addition, because of the detection of a low grade fever and in an abundance of caution, COVID-19 tests were also administered.

Shango the Gorilla Zoo Miami
Shango has a nasal sample taken for COVID-19 testing. (Ron Magill/Zoo Miami)

The tests were negative.

Both Shango and Barney were born at the San Francisco Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in May of 2017.  Since their arrival, they have resided together at the zoo's gorilla habitat.  Conflicts between adult male gorillas in bachelor groups are not uncommon.  However, most consist of a lot of posturing and rarely result in serious injury.  Unfortunately, there was some actual physical contact during the last confrontation between the two brothers that resulted in bite wounds.

PIX: Zoo Miami Gorilla Treated For Bite Wounds After Confrontation With His Brother

Though most injuries that occur during these confrontations do not require immobilization, Shango was observed being very protective of the arm where the most serious bite occurred and his behavior indicated to the staff that closer examination was necessary.

Once the 433-pound great ape was safely immobilized, the Animal Health team was able to clean and treat the bite wounds which were quite deep but fortunately did not appear to result in any permanent damage.

Because of the strength of adult male gorillas and the power of their bite, X-Rays were performed to ensure that there was no skeletal damage.  None of the tests or procedures performed indicated any abnormalities and Shango recovered well from the anesthesia.

Shango the Gorilla Zoo Miami
Shango has his right arm X-Rayed at the sight of a bite wound to insure that there is no skeletal damage.(Ron Magill/Zoo Miami)

He has since been returned to the gorilla area where he will be closely monitored as he continues to heal.

No decision has been made on when Shango will be reintroduced to Barney as that will depend on behavioral assessments made by the staff combined with the healing progress of his injuries.

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