[monkeywire] Last Living Albino Gorilla Dies
pcarino at rcn.com
Mon Nov 24 11:39:51 EST 2003
Bidding Farewell to the World's Only Albino Gorilla
Mon November 24, 2003 10:06 AM ET
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain Monday bade farewell to the world's
only known albino gorilla, Snowflake, a national favorite who
died after a long struggle with skin cancer.
The main attraction at Barcelona zoo since he was brought
there 37 years ago from Equatorial Guinea, Snowflake's fight
with cancer made front-page news in Spain and brought
thousands of well-wishers of all ages to see him.
Jordi Portabella, the zoo's director, told a news conference
that Snowflake died early Monday after veterinarians decided
to have the animal put down to avoid further pain. His skin
cancer was first discovered in 2001.
Queues stretched for hours outside Snowflake's enclosure in
the months before his death. But the 310-pound giant, pumped
full of painkillers and anti-depressants to ease his
suffering, often preferred to turn his back on onlookers.
The 40-year-old gorilla, a lover of yogurt, will be cremated
after DNA and other tests are run on his body. Zoo staff said
they had no plans to dissect his body out of respect for his
Despite his gentle name, Snowflake was renowned for his ill
temper and scowling, wrinkled expression. He fathered more
than 20 children, appeared on the cover of National
Geographic magazine, and was a favorite with generations of
Gorillas, one of mankind's closest relatives, are threatened
with extinction as their jungle habitat is gradually
destroyed. Illegal hunting and disease are decimating the
principal populations of West Africa, according to
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