Colo the lowland gorilla celebrated her 59th birthday just yesterday, being accompanied by a cheerful crowd of visitors and her keepers at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio.
Colo is a blessing for her keepers and caregivers at the Columbus Zoo. Born here on December 22nd, 1956, the lowland gorilla is the oldest in the world to be born and raised in captivity. According to the Columbus Zoo staff, every day with her around is really a wonder.
Particularly since Colo is now 59 years old, reaching an old age for her species. But there is nothing to worry about, at least not yet. Except for arthritis caused by old age, Colo is as healthy as could be. Everyone expects that they will celebrate Colo’s 60th birthday and many more to come.
Colo’s anniversary was marked with cake, clementines and tomatoes, the favorite treats of the lowland gorilla. For all those who couldn’t be there to join the merry crowd in singing ‘Happy Birthday’, the Columbus Zoo streamled the celebration online. Paper chains in rainbow colors decorated Colo’s habitat.
Audra Meinelt, the assistant curator with the Columbus Zoo declared:
“We embrace every single birthday we have with her. It’s not yet the big 6-0, but it’s the big 5-9. Because she is so old, every single day with her, not just her birthday is a gift. We are lucky for every moment we get to spend with her”.
And that may be true. According to specialists, the life expectancy of a lowland gorilla in captivity is a median 37 years old. Not only that, but as Colo the lowland gorilla celebrated her 59th birthday, she exceed any median life expectancy of gorillas in captivity or in the wild. Out there, gorillas are threatened by poaching or the spread of infectious disease in addition to natural predators.
Until a few years ago, Colo wasn’t known as the oldest lowland gorilla in the world. Jenny occupied that spot. With her death at 55 years old, Colo took her place. She is now the oldest known lowland gorilla in the world.
The Columbus Zoo has been home to Colo ever since her birth in 1956. Colo’s mother was named Millie Christina while Colo’s father was named Baron Macombo. Before being known as Colo, the lowland gorilla’s name was Cuddles.
As she was a huge attraction at the time, the Columbus Zoo decided to put out a public contest call to name the cute baby gorilla. Rita Cochren from Columbus won the contest and since then the baby gorilla grew bearing the name Colo. A mix from Columbus and Ohio, her name represents her personality entirely. Colo is a symbol of the Columbus Zoo, her birthplace and her home.
Photo Credits: hngn.com