Massive milestone for Louisville Zoo's girl gorilla

Massive milestone for Louisville Zoo's girl gorilla
Louisville Zoo's gorilla is the third-oldest in North America. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Louisville Zoo's gorilla is the third-oldest in North America. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Louisville Zoo celebrated a milestone birthday for an endangered animal on Saturday.

Helen the gorilla turns 60 years old. She is the third oldest known gorilla in North America, according to the Louisville Zoo.

The birthday had significance because most gorillas in captivity (like the zoo) only make it to around 38 years old. In the wild, to around 35 years old.

Western lowland gorillas like Helen are critically endangered with an estimated 100,000 left in the wild.

"Helen has always had a bit of an independent streak and she has always worn a bit of a tiara in her own mind. And so, yeah they get special treatment. She and Demba live together, they're older and do they get quite a bit of special old lady treatment," Supervisor of Animal Training Jane Anne Franklin said.

The zoo staff ensures that even in her old age, Helen remains healthy and happy.

Part of the special treatment  the zoo gave Helen for her birthday was a cake made of gorilla biscuits and bananas.

Helen also received extra cherries and Jell-O for the occasion.

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