Aside from being very old, Ivan the gorilla had a tumor in his chest that probably contributed to his death last month, according to necropsy results.
Pathologists at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service said preliminary partial necropsy findings show that Ivan’s immediate cause of death was likely associated with a mass in his chest.
“Early partial test results indicate that this was a tumor,” said officials at Zoo Atlanta, who this week released the necropsy results on their website.
Detailed analysis and tests are still pending, Zoo Atlanta said. Final necropsy results are expected in eight weeks.
Ivan, who spent most of his life at Tacoma’s B&I Shopping Center, was shipped to Zoo Atlanta in 1994. He was approximately 50 years old when he died there on Aug. 20.
That is ancient for an ape, biologists say. Gorillas over the age of 35 are considered geriatric. At 50, Ivan was among the oldest gorillas in captivity.
Because of his declining health, zoo doctors did a diagnostic assessment that included general anesthesia. Ivan never regained consciousness.
A public memorial service for Ivan is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday in The Ford African Rain Forest at Zoo Atlanta.
Per the wishes of the family of Ivan’s original owners and the Woodland Park Zoo, his remains were cremated and will be returned to Tacoma.
Nancy Johnson, a spokeswoman for MetroParks Tacoma, said Friday that park officials here are exploring the possibility of some sort of permanent memorial for Ivan, but she said nothing definite has been decided.