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Zoo Miami's Matriarch Gorilla 'Josephine' Passes Away

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Zoo Miami has announced the loss of their matriarch gorilla Wednesday.

Zoo Miami - Josephine
Josephine at Zoo Miami (Source: Zoo Miami)

Born in the wild in 1967, 'Josephine' arrived to Zoo Miami in 1983, then called Miami Metrozoo. In 1984, she delivered 'Moja,' the first gorilla ever born at Zoo Miami.

The nearly 50-year-old great ape had been suffering from several health-related issues that were slowly deteriorating her quality of life.

"Over the past several days, a variety of exams and tests were performed that resulted in several abnormalities, which indicated systemic terminal conditions that had no chance for positive outcomes," said Zoo Miami's Ron Magill.

Wednesday morning, her condition worsened.

"Josephine could hardly move, even to reach for her favorite treat," said Magill. "At that time, the staff met and made the very difficult decision that, with no hope of recovery, the right thing to do was to humanely euthanize her."

Zoo Miami - Binti Chimpanzee
Binti, the first chimpanzee ever born at Zoo Miami, died in early 2017. (Source: Zoo Miami)

The procedure was performed later that afternoon.

Josephine is also remembered for a historic cataract surgery in 2009 that included receiving two artificial human lenses which successfully restored her eyesight.

Josephine was also the grandmother of 'Harambe,' the silverback gorilla that was tragically killed at the Cincinnati Zoo last year when a boy fell into the exhibit. In fact, Mojo sired Harambe.

Earlier this year, Zoo Miami also lost 'Binti,' a 34-year-old female chimpanzee that succumbed to a blood clot. Binti was the first chimpanzee ever born at Zoo Miami.

Fredrika, a 42-year-old female, now becomes the last remaining gorilla at Zoo Miami. Though, she will likely be transferred somewhere else to have some company.

Zoo Miami said they'll wait for assistance from the Gorilla Species Survival Plan to see about establishing a new gorilla troop.


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