Tragedy: London Zoo's baby gorilla killed by jealous silverback

The beautiful new baby gorilla at London Zoo has died after having a fight with his 'surrogate father'.

It is the third gorilla tragedy to hit the zoo after two adult males also died in recent years.

Tiny was only seven months old, and was the first gorilla born at London Zoo for 22 years.

He was killed after being injured by Kesho, who keepers had hoped would be a surrogate parent to the youngster after the death of his biological father Yeboah.

They had hoped the new silverback, who arrived last August, would bring balance and stability to the group following the tragedies.

While he had been gradually introduced to two of the females, Effie and Zaire, keepers waited until they were confident of a successful introduction to Tiny and his mother Mjukuu.

The first meeting on Wednesday 'went very well', according to the The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), but at a second attempt on Thursday Kesho asserted his authority.

Tiny's arm was seriously injured following a scuffle between the whole group.

The gorillas were immediately separated, and Tiny was taken to the on-site vet hospital. Vets confirmed his arm was broken and performed a three-hour operation to pin it.

But when they brought him off the anaesthetic, he was unable to breathe by himself, and vets suspected he had also sustained internal injuries during the scuffle.

Despite repeated efforts to resuscitate the baby gorilla, he could not be revived.

Zoological director David Field said everyone at the zoo was 'utterly devastated' by the youngster's death.

He said: 'We knew this was going to be an extremely difficult situation for the gorillas and their keepers and we've always been open about the challenges we would face introducing a new male in such difficult circumstances.

'Everyone here is utterly devastated. Although we had tried to be prepared for the worst, we are all completely heartbroken by this.'

Keepers returned the baby's body to Mjukuu so she could come to terms with his death.
Eleven-year-old Kesho - who came over from Dublin Zoo - is the third male western lowland gorilla to live at the zoo in the last two years.

The previous male Yeboah - Tiny's father - died suddenly from diabetes in March 2010, just five months after arriving at the zoo. His predecessor Bobby had also died unexpectedly in December 2008 following a heart attack.

Related articles

London Zoo's baby gorilla Tiny takes his first steps
Read Full Story