Beloved Louisville Zoo gorilla recovering after surgery on abdominal mass

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A gorilla at the Louisville Zoo is recovering after surgery to remove an abdominal mass. The zoo shared the news Thursday about the “world-famous” silverback gorilla Jelani, who zoogoers know as an animal who likes to interact with guests and their devices. said the 25-year-old gorilla had presented symptoms of lethargy, decreased eating habits and weakness when climbing. An initial exam ruled out heart and dental diseases, two common health problems in gorillas, but an abdominal mass was discovered. The zoo said during another exam, Jelani was transported off campus to a local imaging facility for a CT scan. The scan suggested a perforated intestine and infection. The surgeons were able to isolate the mass. It was attached to the appendix, so an appendectomy was also performed. They even had help from a Baptist Health surgeon. “It isn’t every day you get a call to consult on gorilla care,” Baptist Health Louisville General Surgeon Richard Pokorny, MD, said. Jelani’s care team reports that he is interacting with his “favorite troopmate” and fellow silverback, Bengati, through mesh and moving around nicely. His appetite has picked up, and his surgery site looks good. Jelani has been at Gorilla Forest since it opened in 2002. The zoo says the other world-renowned gorilla at Gorilla Forest – Helen, the second oldest known gorilla in the world — is being treated at 64 for age-related mobility issues and was recently for periodontal disease. The zoo is open daily year-round.

A gorilla at the Louisville Zoo is recovering after surgery to remove an abdominal mass.

The zoo shared the news Thursday about the “world-famous” silverback gorilla Jelani, who zoogoers know as an animal who likes to interact with guests and their devices.

They said the 25-year-old gorilla had presented symptoms of lethargy, decreased eating habits and weakness when climbing.

An initial exam ruled out heart and dental diseases, two common health problems in gorillas, but an abdominal mass was discovered.

The zoo said during another exam, Jelani was transported off campus to a local imaging facility for a CT scan. The scan suggested a perforated intestine and infection.

The surgeons were able to isolate the mass. It was attached to the appendix, so an appendectomy was also performed.

gorilla’jelani

They even had help from a Baptist Health surgeon.

“It isn’t every day you get a call to consult on gorilla care,” Baptist Health Louisville General Surgeon Richard Pokorny, MD, said.

Jelani’s care team reports that he is interacting with his “favorite troopmate” and fellow silverback, Bengati, through mesh and moving around nicely.

His appetite has picked up, and his surgery site looks good.

Jelani has been at Gorilla Forest since it opened in 2002.

gorilla’jelani

The zoo says the other world-renowned gorilla at Gorilla Forest – Helen, the second oldest known gorilla in the world – is being treated at 64 for age-related mobility issues and was recently treated for periodontal disease.

The zoo is open daily year-round.

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