Pattycake, the first gorilla born in the New York City, died Sunday, zoo authorities said in a statement. A favorite at the Bronx Zoo, Pattycake was under medical care and was being treated for “chronic cardiac issues,” the statement said.
“Pattycake was perhaps the best-known gorilla at the Bronx Zoo, and an institution in New York City,” said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo, which is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Pattycake was transferred to the Bronx Zoo in 1982 from the Central Park Zoo where she was born and had lived there ever since. She had become an overnight celebrity after her birth Sept. 3, 1972, as the Central Park Zoo authorities apparently were not aware her mother was pregnant until the baby birth.
She also got media attention following a custody battle between the Central Park Zoo and the Bronx Zoo after she was taken to Bronx Zoo to recuperate from an arm injury, and the zoo authorities were not ready to send her back to the Central Park Zoo.
Forty-year-old Pattycake is survived by 10 offsprings who now live in other zoos across the United States, the zoo authorities said.
She had given birth to a rare set of Gorilla twins in 1995.
The average life span of gorillas is 37 years, but Pattycake’s mother Lulu died at the age of 46, the Daily News reported adding that longevity is a hereditary trait she inherited from her mother.