The Oldest Breeding Male Gorilla in the U.S. Gets a Heart Exam

| December 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

Winston is seen undergoing tests to determine his health status.

Winston, the oldest breeding male gorilla in the United States, is resting at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park after undergoing a thorough medical exam that included an in-depth assessment of his heart. The assessment was made after animal care staff noticed a decline in his general health earlier this year, when he showed nonspecific signs of illness, such as lethargy and decreased appetite. After an initial exam and supportive therapies, animal care professionals, in collaboration with colleagues from the Great Ape Heart Project, made the decision to perform a more in-depth analysis to determine the cause of his condition and afford him the opportunity to thrive with his troop for the foreseeable future.

“Our medical care for these animals has really advanced over the last 10 to 20 years,” said Lauren Howard, DVM, associate director of veterinary services at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “So, a lot of our animals are living longer than they used to—and with that comes age-related changes. And Winston’s no different.”

Winston, one the world’s oldest breeding male gorillas in a managed care setting, arrived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 1984 with five other gorillas. Animal care staff describe him as a strong silverback with a very easy-going personality—only getting involved in resolving disputes between members of his gorilla troop if he absolutely has to. Guests can typically spot Winston lounging in the rear of the exhibit or perched at either end of the habitat watching the other gorillas, especially the young males, to make sure they behave.

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Category: Animals, feature

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