It’s a very sad day for the Bronx Zoo, as it has lost its beloved gorilla Pattycake.
The first gorilla born in New York City, Pattycake died on Sunday at age 40 from chronic cardiac problems, according to a statement by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Bronx Zoo. The statement noted that a necropsy would be done to determine the actual cause of death.
"Pattycake was under medical care due to her advanced age, and she was being treated for chronic cardiac issues,” the society said. However, Pattycake lived longer than the median life span for gorillas in zoos, which is about 37 years, according to the Associated Press.
"Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo," said Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny. "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 for more than 10 years with her parents, Kongo and Lulu. According to Gothamist, she was originally named “Sonny Jim” because it was initially believed she was a boy.
She moved to the Bronx Zoo in 1983, constantly making headlines, and she was even the subject of two books. She had 10 infants during her 30 years at the Bronx Zoo, which now live in zoos around the nation, including Boston; Buffalo, N.Y.; Detroit; Louisville, Ky.; Omaha, Neb.; and Utah.
The Wildlife Conservation Society said Pattycake was the 31st oldest of 338 gorillas in North American zoos.