Female gorilla dies in zoo after being attacked by male gorilla

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Female Gorilla Dies In Zoo After Being Attacked By Male Gorilla

On Sunday, a 33-year-old female gorilla died at Melbourne Zoo in Australia following an attack by a 13-year-old male gorilla.

Zoos Victoria, an organization that manages Melbourne Zoo, released a statement Sunday morning which reads in part, "Julia died overnight from complications which developed from injuries inflicted by our young Silverback male Otana. Staff monitoring the group as usual throughout Friday observed Otana displaying an unexpected level of aggression towards Julia."

Our sincere thanks to everyone for your support and concerns relating to the sad news that was announced yesterday about...

Posted by Zoos Victoria on Sunday, May 24, 2015

The staff noticed that Julia wasn't responding as normal on Saturday and she had slept away from her group Friday night. When veterinarians examined her, they found signs of "extensive trauma and significant complications resulting from the aggression on Friday." (You can read the entire letter here.)

Her condition progressively worsened and she passed away during the early morning hours on Sunday.

The zoo has come under some criticism for not intervening while Julia was being attacked.

In response, Zoos Victoria says, "It can be very difficult to intervene and often more dangerous to do so in a situation such as this, as it would involve darting animals in a large exhibit and in a heightened state. What generally happens with gorillas is that they will have a struggle and then the group will calm down."

Otana has been separated from the rest of the group for now and the zoo is investigating the incident.

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