Gladys Porter Zoo lowland gorilla dies

BROWNSVILLE — Gladys Porter Zoo officials yesterday announced the passing of Kiazi, a female Western lowland gorilla.

Officials said Kiazi died Saturday while off-exhibit in her indoor living quarters at the zoo. She has been under medical treatment for one week.

The zoo’s gorilla keepers had separated Kiazi from the other gorillas after staff noted she was not using her left arm, officials said. It was presumed her arm had been injured or broken.

Officials said since Kiazi was doing a good job of immobilizing her arm herself, the decision was made to delay anesthetizing her and to keep her quiet while providing supportive care.

However, on Aug. 19, her caregivers noted her health was declining. Staff began discussions to pursue a more aggressive treatment, including anesthetizing her for a full evaluation, the next day.

Zoo officials said the gorilla died just before the procedure was scheduled to begin. A necropsy has been performed to determine the cause of death. The results are pending.

It has not been determined how Kiazi injured her arm. The Zoo’s veterinary staff is certain that this, alone, was not the cause of death.

Kiazi arrived in Brownsville in October 2011 as part of an AZA Species Survival Plan recommendation.