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Pattycake, First Gorilla Born In NYC, Dies At 40

A photo of Pattycake from 2010.
(Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society)

A photo of Pattycake from 2010.
(Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Pattycake, the first gorilla born in New York City, died Sunday at the Bronx Zoo. She was 40 years old.

The Wildlife Conservation Society said Pattycake was suffering from chronic cardiac problems, but 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 years old.

“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 and WCS Executive Vice President and General Director of Zoos & Aquarium. “Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo. Pattycake was a very special animal and her presence will be deeply missed.”

Pattycake was born on Sept. 3, 1972 at the Central Park Zoo and lived there with her parents Kongo and Lulu. 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 two twins born in 1995. Her offspring live in zoos in Boston, Buffalo, 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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