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Rosie, the North Carolina Zoo’s 43-year-old western lowland gorilla, has died

Rosie, the North Carolina Zoo’s 43-year-old western lowland gorilla (Image provided by the North Carolina Zoo)

ASHEBORO, N.C. — Rosie, the North Carolina Zoo’s 43-year-old western lowland gorilla, has died.

Rosie had developed an aggressive abdominal mass that was inoperable because of her advanced age, the zoo said in a press release. She was humanely euthanized on Thursday.

The zoo said Rosie was the matriarch of the troop and her contribution to the Association of Zoo and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for western lowland gorillas was significant.

The median life expectancy for female gorillas is 38½ years old, according to the zoo.

Rosie joined the zoo’s gorilla troop in 2015 with her grandson Hadari and a silverback gorilla named Mosuba.

Rosie was born in 1974 at the Cincinnati Zoo, was also the mother of the country’s first and only gorilla born through in vitro fertilization in 1995.

“Rosie was a feisty and at times cantankerous old lady, but she was well respected by her troop members and caretakers,” said Jennifer Ireland, curator of mammals for the North Carolina Zoo. “She played an important role in AZA’s gorilla population, fostering and caring for young gorillas throughout her life. Her impact will be long-standing.”