Gorilla treated for bite wounds and receives COVID-19 tests

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“Shango,” a 31-year-old male lowland gorilla was immobilized and transported to the Zoo Miami animal hospital recentl;y for treatment of several wounds that were inflicted by his 26-year-old brother, “Barney,” during a confrontation. He also received X-rays, vaccinations, an ultrasound, a TB test and a bronchoscopy as part of the zoo’s overall preventative medicine program.  In addition, because of the detection of a low grade fever and in an abundance of caution, COVID-19 tests were also administered. The results of those tests were negative. Both Shango and Barney were born at the San Francisco Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in May of 2017. Since their arrival, they have resided together at the zoo’s gorilla habitat.   Conflicts between adult male gorillas in bachelor groups are not uncommon. However, most consist of a lot of posturing and rarely result in serious injury. There was some actual physical contact during the last confrontation between the two brothers that resulted in bite wounds. Though most injuries that occur during these confrontations do not require immobilization, Shango was observed being very protective of the arm where the most serious bite occurred and his behavior indicated to the staff that closer examination was warranted. Once the 433-pound great ape was safely immobilized, the Animal Health Team was able to clean and treat the bite wounds which were quite deep but did not appear to result in any permanent damage. Because of the strength of adult male gorillas and the power of their bite, x-rays were performed to ensure that there was no skeletal damage. None of the tests or procedures performed indicated any abnormalities and Shango recovered well from the anesthesia. He has since been returned to the gorilla area where he will be closely monitored as he continues to heal. No decision has been made on when Shango will be reintroduced to Barney as that will depend on behavioral assessments made by the staff combined with the healing progress of his injuries.
The Animal Health Team performs several procedures simultaneously to minimize the time that gorilla “Shango” needs to be under anesthesia.
(Photo by Ron Magill/Zoo Miami)

“Shango,” a 31-year-old male lowland gorilla was immobilized and transported to the Zoo Miami animal hospital recentl;y for treatment of several wounds that were inflicted by his 26-year-old brother, “Barney,” during a confrontation.

He also received X-rays, vaccinations, an ultrasound, a TB test and a bronchoscopy as part of the zoo’s overall preventative medicine program. In addition, because of the detection of a low grade fever and in an abundance of caution, COVID-19 tests were also administered.

The results of those tests were negative.

Both Shango and Barney were born at the San Francisco Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in May of 2017. Since their arrival, they have resided together at the zoo’s gorilla habitat.

Conflicts between adult male gorillas in bachelor groups are not uncommon. However, most consist of a lot of posturing and rarely result in serious injury. There was some actual physical contact during the last confrontation between the two brothers that resulted in bite wounds. Though most injuries that occur during these confrontations do not require immobilization, Shango was observed being very protective of the arm where the most serious bite occurred and his behavior indicated to the staff that closer examination was warranted.

Once the 433-pound great ape was safely immobilized, the Animal Health Team was able to clean and treat the bite wounds which were quite deep but did not appear to result in any permanent damage. Because of the strength of adult male gorillas and the power of their bite, x-rays were performed to ensure that there was no skeletal damage. None of the tests or procedures performed indicated any abnormalities and Shango recovered well from the anesthesia.

He has since been returned to the gorilla area where he will be closely monitored as he continues to heal. No decision has been made on when Shango will be reintroduced to Barney as that will depend on behavioral assessments made by the staff combined with the healing progress of his injuries.


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