Shango is 31 years of age and a 433 pounds gorilla living at Zoo Miami. He got into a fight with his younger brother Barney, 26, which left him injured. Normally apes do stand-off posturing rather than actually hurting each other. The veterinary staff at the zoo decided to anaesthetise him to test for Covid-19 and to make sure that he wasn’t badly injured.
The test for Covid-19 was prompted because he had a low-level fever. The test proved negative thankfully. If he had contracted Covid-19 he would have been the first animal other than a cat that I have read about to have contracted the disease. It might have been significant because is a primate.
The photographs by Ron Magill are extraordinary because they show the enormous size of a lowland gorilla and how he has become pacified. It is also nice to see a lot of care being administered to him. He was born with his brother in captivity. He has never enjoyed the wild.
In addition to a TB test and a bronchoscopy, he was x-rayed, vaccinated and an ultrasound was taken. The staff at the zoo said that his wounds were quite deep. They were bite wounds which were cleaned and treated. The staff were being cautious.
He is being monitored and at present no decision has been made as to when he will be reintroduced to Barney. His behaviour is being assessed together with the healing of his injuries.