‘Heartbroken’: Calgary Zoo puts six-year-old gorilla with cancer

Kimani was kept comfortable with her favorite food and drink, including fruits and vegetables

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The Calgary Zoo has put down a beloved gorilla after a brief battle with liver cancer.

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Kimani, the zoo’s six-year-old western lowland gorilla, was euthanized Wednesday morning after a rare childhood liver cancer affected her liver and lungs. A statement on the zoo’s website says her condition had deteriorated to the point that her quality of life could no longer be maintained.

“We are heartbroken to share that our Animal Care, Health & Welfare (ACHW) team has made the difficult but compassionate decision to euthanize our beloved 6-year-old western lowland gorilla, ‘Kimani,’ this morning,” the statement said. “We are grateful for the extra 2.5 weeks that our incredible ACHW team was able to give her through exceptional palliative care, allowing her to say goodbye to her mess. Sincere thanks to the veterinary and medical teams around the world who have committed to help in any way they can.”

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The zoo had released Kimani’s diagnosis earlier this month after teams noticed she was behaving differently. A team of veterinarians then performed a complete physical exam, including blood work, X-rays and ultrasound, and she was taken to Western Veterinary Specialists for a CT scan of her abdomen and chest.

The vet team also consulted with radiology and human liver specialists to determine that Kimani has liver cancer that has spread to her entire liver, lungs, and the supporting tissues for her heart, esophagus, and blood vessels.

She was kept comfortable with her favorite foods and drinks, including fruits and vegetables, and fed Pedialyte, diluted fruit teas, and protein smoothies.

The zoo later clarified that the cancer had formed before Kimani received the vaccinations.

The African Rainforest Building at the zoo was closed on Wednesday.

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