Bronx Zoo's Pattycake, First Gorilla Born in NYC, Dead at 40

Monday, Apr 1, 2013  |  Updated 4:49 PM EDT
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Pattycake, the first gorilla born in New York City, has died at the Bronx Zoo. She was 40 and suffered from chronic cardiac problems.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo, made the announcement on Sunday and said a necropsy would be performed to determine the cause of death. It said Pattycake surpassed the median life span for gorillas in zoos, which is 37.

"Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo," said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo. "Pattycake was a very special animal and her presence will be deeply missed."

Pattycake was born at the Central Park Zoo on Sept. 3, 1972 and lived there with her parents Kongo and Lulu. She broke her arm when she was 5 months old. In 1983, she went to live at the Bronx Zoo. Two books were written about her.

She had 10 infants while at the zoo, including twins born in 1995. Her offspring live in zoos in Boston, Buffalo, N.Y., Detroit, Louisville, Omaha, Neb., and Utah.

The Wildlife Conservation Society said Pattycake was the 31st oldest gorilla of 338 living in North American zoos.

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