Sad news from the gorilla troop at Jersey Zoo

Thursday 16 May 2024

We are incredibly sad to announce that Kishka, the eldest of our western lowland gorillas, has passed away today. At 45 years old, Kishka lived with us for most of her lifetime after joining the family at Jersey Zoo in 1984 when she was six years old. 
Kishka 40Th Birthday, 2018 Charlie Wylie


She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2020, and since then our devoted keepers and vet team have kept a close eye on her and carefully managed her condition. Over the past few weeks, we saw a significant decline in her general wellbeing, so following a thorough review process, we made the difficult decision to put her to sleep.

“Losing Kishka has been incredibly sad for everyone at Durrell, especially the gorilla team. Over the years, Kishka was a stalwart of Jersey Zoo’s gorilla troop, taking life in her stride and at her own pace. She was known for her gentle temperament; acting as a stoic, matriarchal figure for many young gorillas, as well as helping to induct generations of young zookeepers into careers with great apes,” said Ben Matthews, Curator of Mammals at Jersey Zoo.

“The gorilla team work tirelessly each and every day to provide the utmost care for the troop, whether it's Christmas Day, through inclement weather, or following the loss of an animal like Kishka. They have handled the process carefully and considerately and will continue to monitor the troop closely over the next few weeks.”


Jersey Zoo has been home to western lowland gorillas for more than 60 years, successfully breeding them and training conservationists to protect these majestic apes in the wild. 

Our dedicated gorilla team will work to ensure the rest of the troop, including silverback Badongo, females Bahasha and Hlala Kahilli, and four-year-old Amari, are managed sensitively following Kishka’s passing. The gorilla house will remain closed for a few days to allow the troop some time to adjust. 

Beautiful, gentle Kishka will be hugely missed by staff, volunteers and visitors. We'll be sharing a tribute to Kishka's life at Jersey Zoo soon.