Heart disease decimating zoo gorillas

March 16, 2008

U.S. researchers are trying to understand why so many gorillas in North American zoos are dying of heart disease.

The most recent victim was Sunshine, a 34-year-old western lowland gorilla, who died Tuesday in the Detroit Zoo after suffering from heart disease for several years.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in captive gorillas, the zoo said in a release. More than 40 percent of adult gorilla deaths are due to heart disease, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Scientists said they don't know why gorillas contract the disease at such a high rate. Possibilities include diet, disease, old age or some other unknown cause.

Veterinarian Suzan Murray said heart disease in gorillas is different from heart disease in humans. Gorillas develop a hardening of the heart muscle, called fibrosing cardiomyopathy, that has few symptoms, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Orangutans sit still for heart ultrasound at zoo

Related Stories

Measuring obesity in overweight zoo elephants

July 14, 2014

African elephants in captivity are getting fat. While the thought of a pudgy pachyderm might produce a chuckle, it is a situation with potentially serious consequences for the species.

Was the dawn of man among trees in the cradle of disease?

July 4, 2013

A student-led conference to be webcast live will ask, in light of recent research, whether the story of human origin is radically different from established thinking, and what that might mean for everything from genetics ...

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.