Famous gorilla passes away at Zoo Atlanta after 30 years of attracting crowds

Posted at 2:13 PM, Oct 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-28 14:14:47-04

Shamba the Gorilla (Photo: Zoo Atlanta)

Atlanta, Georgia (WGCL) — The Atlanta Zoo is mourning the loss of the beloved 58-year-old gorilla Shamba whose death was announced Oct. 27.

For decades Shamba and her fellow primates have attracted groves of visitors to the zoo. Caretakers say the gorilla, who is one of the oldest in the world, was found unresponsive and ultimately passed due to age-related ailments.

“Shamba was an extraordinary individual, beloved by her care team and the Zoo Atlanta, and her passing is very difficult,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Vice President of Animal Divisions in a press release. “She leaves an incredible legacy behind, not just as a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, but as an original member of what is today an award-winning gorilla program because of individuals like her.”

Shamba is one of the founding gorillas of the Zoo Atlanta gorilla program which began in the 1980’s.

Many zoo visitors may know her as the other half of the “Golden Girls” alongside 54-year-old Choomba.

The famous gorilla leaves behind more than 30 descendants, including several generations of grandchildren living at Zoo Atlanta and other accredited zoos around the United States.