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Milwaukee County Zoo awaiting test results following gorilla deaths

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Workers at the Milwaukee County Zoo are waiting for test results that may help explain why two gorillas died at the zoo in April.

“Everyone is very concerned about what’s going on,” said Beth Rich, Director of Animal Management and Health.

On Saturday, 17-year-old female lowland gorilla Naku was humanely euthanized after veterinarians discovered a severe intestinal problem. Earlier in the month, 31-year-old male lowland gorilla Cassius passed away.

To determine if the two deaths could be linked, the zoo has sent samples from Naku, Cassius and the gorilla exhibit for testing.

“We’re taking cultures from a lot of places where they [the gorillas] can be, to try and figure out, do we have an environmental pathogen?” she said.

Zoo keepers are also trying to fufill Naku’s role as a mother to her 8-month-old baby Zahra.

“She’s got a keeper with her 24 hours, seven days a week,” Rich said. “They’re wearing what we call a fuzzy gorilla t-shirt. It’s a shirt that is black fuzzy material so the baby can cling onto that,”

All of the other gorillas are quarantined and on antibiotics as a precaution. Test results are expected in the next week or two.

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