Spanish ethologist who discovered albino gorilla dies at 87

Aug 06, 2009
Catalan primatologist Jordi Sabater Pi speaks to journalists in 2003. Pi, who discovered the only albino gorilla known to man in the 1960s, has died at the age of 87, the University of Barcelona said Thursday.

Spanish ethologist Jordi Sabater Pi, who discovered the only albino gorilla known to man in the 1960s, has died at the age of 87, the University of Barcelona said Thursday.

Pi, a professor at the university's faculty of psychology where he pioneered the study of and primatology in Spain, passed away on Wednesday, it said in a statement.

He found the albino gorilla in 1966 in Equatorial Guinea -- then a Spanish colony -- when the primate was being held in captivity by a hunter belonging to the Fang tribe.

Pi brought the animal to Spain, where it lived at the Barcelona zoo until its death from skin cancer in 2003.

The gorilla -- named "Copito de Nieve" or "Snowflake" -- was featured on postcards and mentioned in tourist guides, becoming an unofficial mascot for the city and famous around the world.

Pi lobbied actively for the protection and conservation of primates.

He once said Snowflake should be used "to promote the defence of large primates" because "if we don't do anything, there will no longer be any in 30 years".

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Rising temperatures can be hard on dogs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study garners unique mating photos of wild gorillas

Feb 12, 2008

Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have released the first known photographs of gorillas performing face-to-face copulation in the wild. ...

World's most endangered gorilla fights back

Dec 05, 2007

In the wake of a study that documented for the first time the use of weaponry by Cross River gorillas to ward off threats by humans, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced today new field surveys to better protect this ...

Zoologist who raised Koko dies

Oct 26, 2007

Ronald Reuther, a zoologist who helped raise the first gorilla to use human sign language, has died in California at the age of 77.

Teaching captive gorillas the ropes

Nov 13, 2006

The Columbus Zoo in Ohio uses humans as surrogate mothers to baby gorillas so the babies can learn nurturing and become caring parents themselves.

Recommended for you

Rising temperatures can be hard on dogs

22 hours ago

The "dog days of summer" are here, but don't let the phrase fool you. This hot time of year can be dangerous for your pup, says a Kansas State University veterinarian.

Monkeys fear big cats less, eat more, with humans around

Jul 25, 2014

Some Monkeys in South Africa have been found to regard field scientists as human shields against predators and why not if the alternative is death by leopard? The researchers found the monkeys felt far safer ...

User comments : 0