Harambe’s grandmother euthanized at the Miami zoo
MIAMI (CNN) — In her 49 years, Josephine the gorilla survived being placed into a zoo from the wild; cataract surgery; and, of course, the shooting death of her famous grandson, Harambe.
But when the ailing great ape grew so ill she couldn’t even reach for her favorite treat, her caregivers knew the end had come.
Zoo Miami euthanized Josephine on Wednesday.
“It is with very heavy hearts that we announce the loss of our matriarch gorilla, ‘Josephine,'” the zoo said.
Born in the wild in March 1967, Josephine arrived at Zoo Miami (then Miami Metrozoo) in March 1983. She gave birth to the first gorilla born there in 1984.
Josephine had become nearly blind due to severe cataracts by 2009. Surgery gave her two artificial human lenses implanted into her eyes, restoring her site.
In recent years, Josephine suffered from a variety of ailments that could not be treated due to her age. Tests in the last few days showed “several abnormalities that indicated systemic terminal conditions,” Zoo Miami said.
She was also the grandmother to Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla shot by a zookeeper at the Cincinnati Zoo in May. The gorilla had picked up and dragged a boy who fell into his enclosure. Harambe’s death caused an uproar online, with #RIPHarambe becoming a popular meme.
The news of Josephine’s death came days after the news that Colo, the world’s oldest-living zoo gorilla, died in her sleep at the Columbus Zoo.