JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A longtime resident of the Jacksonville Zoo has died.
Quito, the much-loved Silverback gorilla, died over the weekend.
He was born on June 1, 1981 at Boston's Stone Zoo. Quito came to Jacksonville in March 1998 from the zoo in St. Louis as the River City's first gorilla group.
Quito became the group leader and a big attraction for zoo visitors.
Zoo leaders found him on the ground Sunday morning. They believe he died Saturday night. The initial necropsy did not show any immediate cause of death, however, cardiac failure is suspected. He had a family history of heart disease.
"We are all mourning the loss of Quito," said Tony Vecchio, Executive Director of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. "Quito was one of Jacksonville Zoo and Garden's most popular animals. He was also a great ambassador for the Zoo's mission and its dedication to the conservation of rare and endangered species," Vecchio concluded.
As a special tribute to Quito, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will contribute $5 of each paid zoo admission this Saturday, February 2, to primate conservation.
Also, guests can hang their farewell messages to Quito on the bamboo located on the path between the Range of the Jaguar and the first Great Apes window.