After nearly five decades since she first came to Topeka Zoo in Kansas, Tiffany the Gorilla died on Sunday, Aug. 20, after veterinarians discovered that she has stage 4 ovarian cancer that has metastasized. She passed away just a few days after a surgery for constipation.
No Improvements After Constipation Surgery
The 49-year-old lowland gorilla did not show improvements since her surgery on Wednesday. The operation was done to remove a significant amount of stool from her colon.
She underwent CT scans on Sunday so doctors can determine why she has not gotten well after the surgery. The results revealed that she had two abdominal masses that were eventually found to be tumors associated with stage 4 ovarian cancer.
Surgeons And Veterinarians Decide To Euthanize Tiffany
A surgery was performed later on Sunday but veterinarians found that the cancer had already spread to the abdominal wall. The surgeons and veterinarians halted the procedure and eventually decided to no longer wake up the animal after the surgery.
Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley explained the decision to euthanize the gorilla saying that regardless if all of the cancer-affected tissues are removed, treatment remains a problem.
"We just could not see an appropriate way to administer a regimen of chemotherapy to treat the cancer," said Wiley.
The zoo said that Tiffany died just before 3 p.m. surrounded by the people who loved her. Tiffany was a popular animal at the zoo receiving birthday and Christmas gifts. Zoo members and those who loved Tiffany shared their experiences with the animal after the zoo announced her death.
"I was so lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with this beautiful creature. I only cleaned out her enclosure and gave her her enrichments but it was so amazing to be that close to this gorgeous animal! My heart breaks that she passed away from cancer. RIP sweet Tiffany," wrote Shayna Tasker on Facebook.
Tiffany was born at the Kansas City Zoo in July 1968 and lived much of her life in Topeka Zoo. She also stayed for four years at New York's Buffalo Zoo in the 1980s.
"We definitely mean it when we say that the past week was definitely chock full of these interactions between Tiffany and staff and we are all utterly thankful for every moment we had with this sweet girl. She was nothing short of amazing and will certainly never be forgotten," Topeka Zoo said in a statement. "Goodnight gorilla."