Deceased Safari Park Gorilla Suffered Heart Problem

Zoo officials say the aged-gorilla had an aortic dissection before dying

By Lauren Steussy
|  Friday, Oct 21, 2011  |  Updated 8:40 AM PDT
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San Diego's Cutest Critters

San Diego Zoo

“Alberta”,32, was a western gorilla who spent nearly her entire life at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park division. The zoo reported that she died on October 14, 2011.

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New details regarding the death of a 32-year old gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reveal that the endangered animal suffered a serious heart problem before dying.

A necropsy found that Alberta the western gorilla died of an aortic dissection, which was caused by a tearing of the inner wall of her heart, according to our media partner the North County Times.

The inner walls of Alberta’s aorta tore open, causing blood to break apart the walls of her aorta.

Zoo spokesperson Jenny Mehlow told the NCT that veterinarians did not detect the condition before Alberta died on Oct. 14. The veterinarians were monitoring her for shoulder issues, according to a previous article on NBCSanDiego.com.

Alberta was one of six gorillas at the park and spent nearly her entire life there, Mehlow said. Alberta was born at the Fresno Zoo before coming to the Safari Park and gave birth to three baby gorillas.
 

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