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Bronx Zoo Mourns Pattycake the Gorilla

By Nikhita Venugopal | April 1, 2013 8:07am | Updated on April 1, 2013 8:28am

BRONX ZOO — Pattycake, the first gorilla born in New York City, died on Sunday at the Bronx Zoo, officials said.

The 40-year-old gorilla was being treated for chronic cardiac issues and received medical care because of her advanced age, according to a press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Born in 1972 at the Central Park Zoo, Pattycake moved permanently to the Bronx Zoo at the age of 11. Over the past 40 years, 59 gorillas have been born at the Bronx Zoo.

“Pattycake was perhaps the best-known gorilla at the Bronx Zoo, and an institution in New York City,” said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and WCS executive vice president.

“Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo. Pattycake was a very special animal and her presence will be deeply missed," he said.

The gorilla was the 31st oldest of the 338 currently living in North American zoos, surpassing the median life span for zoo gorillas, which is 37 years of age, according to the press release.

Two books have been published about her: "Gorilla Baby: The Story of Pattycake" and "Gentle Gorilla: The Story of Pattycake."

Pattycake is survived by 10 offspring that were born at the Bronx Zoo and now live across the country in zoos in Utah, Omaha, Neb., Louisville, Ky., Buffalo, N.Y., Detroit and Boston.