SF Zoo mourns loss of beloved gorilla Zura, known for her beauty, 'one-of-a-kind' personality

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Zoo is mourning the loss of one of their beloved animals.

Friday officials from San Francisco Zoo & Gardens announced the passing of Zura, a 39-year-old Western lowland gorilla.

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The zoo says Zura has been a fan favorite for generations of visiting families, who enjoyed her "her tough and sassy attitude."

Zura had been undergoing specialized treatment for long-term digestive issues, but recently experienced "worsening conditions," officials said.

"Zura was a fixture at SF Zoo since her arrival from the Columbus Zoo in 1982," the zoo said in a press release. "She is the granddaughter of Columbus Zoo's renowned 'Colo,' who more than 60 years ago, was the first gorilla born under human care."

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Friday, Zura's caretakers described her "beautiful, distinctive face and a one-of-a-kind personality."

"So many of our guests recognized her when they visited," said Tanya M. Peterson, CEO and Executive Director of San Francisco Zoological Society. "As one of our older females, she lived among different generations of our gorilla troop, from the great silverback, 'Bwana' to our gentle, contemplative silverback, 'OJ'. She will be missed by all of us."



Zura lived in the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve, one of the first naturalistic habitats for gorillas when it opened in 1980.

She was known for getting along well with other members of her troop, even serving as an "auntie" to many of the troop's offspring, but she never had any offspring of her own.

Zoo staff says some of her favorite activities included blown "snow" and bubbles.

Her passing leaves four Western lowland gorillas, an adult male silverback and three adult females.
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