BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The Birmingham Zoo says its only gorilla has died during a routine heart examination.
Zoo officials say the 24-year-old western lowland gorilla, named Jamie, had been anesthetized Wednesday afternoon for an echocardiogram. The heart scan is used to monitor blood flow and the thickness of heart chambers and involves no surgery. Clay Hilton, the zoo's senior veterinarian, said initial signs once Jamie was asleep looked good. Hilton says the gorilla then appeared pale around the lips and stopped breathing.
A medical team attempted to stimulate and regulate his heart, but the gorilla died shortly after 4 p.m. Jamie came to Birmingham from the Albuquerque, N.M. Biological Park in 1994. Lowland gorillas typically live until their early 30s in the wild, but average higher in zoos.