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Cincinnati Zoo mourns loss of silverback gorilla

Jomo died this weekend at the age of 30
Jomo the western lowland silverback gorilla
Posted at 8:37 PM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-12 20:37:43-05

CINCINNATI — On Saturday, the Cincinnati Zoo announced the death of Jomo the beloved western lowland silverback gorilla. Staff said he passed away Friday at the age of 30.

In a press release, the zoo said Jomo's health has been declining since he was diagnosed with a degenerative incurable spinal cord condition in 2019.

“We have been monitoring and treating Jomo’s condition for years, including regular physical therapy sessions, medications and laser therapy,” Cincinnati Zoo's head gorilla keeper Ashley Ashcraft said. “The last few years of his life as his health started to decline, I cherished our bond even more."

This is a huge loss to the Cincinnati Zoo and Jomo's care team.

“Jomo has captured the hearts of countless people over the years, including my own,” Ashcraft said. "From the first day I spent with him until the last, Jomo had taught me so much about gorillas but also life. He will forever inspire me as I remember him as a great leader for his family and a magnificent ambassador for his species.”

Jomo called the Cincinnati Zoo home for the past 17 years. At his prime, he was a massive animal, weighing in at 400 pounds.

Jomo the silverback gorilla and his friend

The Cincinnati Zoo has been caring for these massive primates since 1931. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild. According to the zoo, there are fewer than 175,000 left in the wild.