One of the Cleveland’s zoo’s two male western lowland gorillas died on Friday, zoo officials said.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo first announced the death of 32-year-old Bebac on its Facebook page.
Zoo Executive Director Chris Kuhar called Bebac one of the zoo’s iconic animals in an interview Saturday. Dozens of tributes along with photos of Bebac taken by zoo visitors were posted on Facebook.
Bebac, pronounced BEE’-bak, and 29-year-old Mokolo, pronounced mo-KO’-lo, came to the Cleveland zoo in 1994 from Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, where they both were born.
The zoo’s medical staff struggled to find a treatment to make Bebac well after his health began deteriorating a month ago, Kuhar said. Gorillas living in captivity have an average life expectancy of about 30 years.