Aussie Zoo Releases Incredible Pictures Of Silverback Gorilla On Operating Table

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Aussie Zoo Releases Incredible Pictures Of Silverback Gorilla On Operating Table

Aussie Zoo Releases Incredible Pictures Of Silverback Gorilla On Operating Table

When you think about animals inside a zoo, you rarely ever think about what goes on behind the scenes.

You get to see them flaunting around their enclosure and maybe doing the odd trick, but you never think about the zookeepers having to check up on them when everyone goes home.

But we bet you’ve never properly thought about what happens when vets reckon animals need to undergo a proper check up.

Well, now you don’t have to thanks to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, who has released incredible pictures of a silverback gorilla on an operating table.

Credit: Taronga Zoo
Credit: Taronga Zoo

Kibali is an 18-year-old silverback Western Lowland Gorilla who had to undergo a check up at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital.

Dr Larry Vogelnest, senior veterinarian at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital said staff were concerned for the huge animal, adding: “He seemed lethargic and his appetite was up and down, and he’d lost a bit of body condition as well.

“We were also concerned about heart disease. Heart disease is something that has been relatively common in gorillas, especially male gorillas, so we wanted to check his heart.”

The zoo says Kibali had to be anaesthetised during the check up, however that has taken months to prepare for.

Zoo staff have been working on getting Kibali comfortable with them, slowly encouraging him to break off from his group and present his shoulder so that they could give him a sedative.

Unit Supervisor of Primates on Taronga’s Exotic Fauna Precinct Melissa Shipway said: “It’s taken years to train these behaviours. Training a silverback gorilla to remove himself from his family is a big deal because they like to stick together.”

Credit: Taronga Zoo
Credit: Taronga Zoo

Once they were able to get the gorilla comfortable with the idea of being injected, they were able to go ahead with the check up.

“He was hand injected successfully, which was incredible,” Dr Larry Vogelnest said. “He weighs 170kg, so he’s a pretty hefty animal. He needed a lot of people to carry him.

“Logistically it was a big procedure to organise. We had a veterinary cardiologist come in to assess Kibali, as well as a human cardiac sonographer – someone who specialises in doing ultrasounds on the heart.

“We also took blood samples to do various tests and also samples from his gut because gut infections can cause low-grade chronic disease in gorillas and we wanted to look into that.

“Overall, the assessment revealed Kibali to be in good health, and Dr Vogelnest was pleased with his condition.

“On the day he looked great physically. His body condition looked good. The cardiac report checked out completely normal. So far all his blood work has been normal too and the gastro-intestinal results showed nothing untoward at all.”

Always good to know that the gorilla is in good health and hopefully he’s got plenty more years left in the tank.

Featured Image Credit: Taronga Zoo

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