One of the world’s oldest western lowland gorillas has passed away at ZSL London Zoo.
Zaire, who celebrated her 45th birthday last year, was born in 1974 at Jersey Zoo, and moved to ZSL London Zoo in 1984, where she gave birth to a female named Kamili in 1987.
Affectionately known as ‘Ziggy’ by her keepers, her calm and placid nature meant she was much loved by all who worked with her.
A fan of all things pink and sparkly, Zaire could often be seen admiring visitors’ cerise coats or sequin accessories, and she was fascinated by children – often stopping what she was doing to watch them play.
Daniel Simmonds, leader of the Zoo’s primate team, said: “We’re all incredibly saddened by Zaire’s death, she was a treasured part of our London Zoo family, but we know that she lived a long and contented life here at ZSL London Zoo.
“She lived to a good age and has long been part of the action at ZSL London Zoo – from seeing HRH The Duke of Edinburgh open Gorilla Kingdom to cheering on British athletes in the London 2012 Olympics!”
Zaire passed away in her sleep on Sunday 26 January following a short illness, with her devoted keepers close by.