One of Topeka Zoo’s lowland gorillas passed away on Sunday. Tests revealed that the 49-year-old Tiffany had late-stage ovarian cancer that had spread to the rest of her body, four days after she had gone through surgery for constipation.
The Kansas zoo released a statement saying that after the gorilla’s condition failed to improve following a surgery last Wednesday to clear “a significant amount of stool” from her colon, Tiffany was taken for some scans at the Mark L. Morris Veterinary Hospital, including an ultrasound and blood work. The results showed two masses in her abdomen, which were later identified as tumors linked to stage four ovarian cancer, ABC News reports.
There was a second surgery on Sunday, but zoo officials said that, “It became evident that the cancer had metastasized to the abdominal wall.” Surgeons and veterinarians halted the operation and decided that it was best not to wake Tiffany after the surgery.
She died a short time after, “surrounded by the team of people that cared for her,” according to the zoo.
Brendan Wiley, the zoo’s director, said, “Even if all the cancer affected tissue could have been removed, we just could not see an appropriate way to administer a regimen of chemotherapy to treat the cancer.”
Tiffany was born in July 1968 at the Kansas City Zoo. Since then, she spent most of her time at the Topeka Zoo, except for the years when she was at the Buffalo Zoo in New York in the 1980s.
Wiley said, “She was a big part of the persona of our zoo. He said the gorilla loves board books, stuffed toys and that she enjoyed “watching kids, and kids loved to watch her.” “It seemed like everyone knew who Tiffany was,” he added.
“Tiffany has made a great impact on millions of zoo visitors over the years that she has been here,” the zoo said in the statement.
Tiffany was one of the oldest female gorillas in a global database showing the age distribution of gorillas in zoos worldwide.