Quito, the gorilla, found dead in exhibit

Published On: Jan 30 2013 05:02:46 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 29 2013 10:22:46 AM EST

He was an iconic and much-loved gorilla at the Jacksonville Zoo and now, he's gone.


Quito, the iconic and much-loved silverback gorilla at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, has died, zoo officials announced Monday.

According to zookeepers, Quito was discovered Sunday morning in the gorilla enclosure lying down and not moving. Officials said he most likely died Saturday night.

Initial necropsy findings have not revealed any immediate cause of death, but cardiac failure is suspected. Quito had a family history of heart disease, and he has received heart medication for the last three years. Histopathology results may reveal more details, but tests require weeks of lab work.

Quito was born on June 1, 1981, at Boston’s Stone Zoo. He came to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in March 1998 from St. Louis Zoo, as part of Jacksonville Zoo’s first gorilla group. He became troop leader and an instant favorite among zoo guests and patrons. The zoo said his engaging personality, impressive stature and commanding presence attracted a big fan base of people of all ages.

Quito’s birthday celebration, held the last two years, has been attended by hundreds of schoolchildren, Zoo supporters and media personnel.

“We are all mourning the loss of Quito,” said Tony Vecchio, executive director of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “Quito was one of Jacksonville Zoo and Garden’s most popular animals. He was also a great ambassador for the Zoo’s mission and its dedication to the conservation of rare and endangered species."

As a special tribute to Quito, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will contribute $5 of each paid zoo admission this Saturday to primate conservation. Guests can hang their farewell messages to Quito on the bamboo located on the path between the Range of the Jaguar and the first Great Apes window.


The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus