San Diego Safari Park's 'Vila,' world's 2nd oldest gorilla, dies at 60

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - One of the world's oldest living gorillas has died at the San Diego Safari Park.

Vila, a 60-year-old gorilla and the second oldest gorilla in the world, died Thursday, the park announced. Vila was the matriarch of five generations and has been the surrogate mother for several hand-raised western lowland gorillas.

Park officials said Vila is believed to have been born in 1957 in the Congo. After being brought to the U.S., Vila was raised at the San Diego Zoo and later taken to the San Diego Safari Park.

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"Vila touched many people throughout her lifetime," Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said. "She will be missed by Zoo members, guests, volunteers, and staff."

Vila was under veterinary care for conditions related to advanced age, according to the park. She reportedly died surrounded by members of her gorilla troop.

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The gorilla celebrated her 60th birthday last October alongside her granddaughter, 1-year-old Leslie.

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