Pattycake, First Gorilla Born in NYC, Dies at 40 Years Old

April 1, 2013

The Bronx Zoo has lost a beloved member of its western lowland gorilla family with the passing of Pattycake.

Pattycake, the first gorilla born in New York City, died today at 40 years old.

Pattycake was under medical care due to her advanced age and she was being treated for chronic cardiac issues. A necropsy was performed today and more conclusive results will follow.

Pattycake was born at the Central Park Zoo on Sept. 3, 1972 to parents Kongo and Lulu. Since her birth, she was loved by New Yorkers who were captivated by her story. At five months old she was followed closely in the news after sustaining a broken arm. After her injury, she was brought to the Bronx Zoo’s animal hospital for care where she was raised by Bronx Zoo keepers until being returned to her parents at the Central Park Zoo. In 1983, she was brought back to the Bronx Zoo permanently. Two books have been published about her, Gorilla Baby: The Story of Pattycake; and Gentle Gorilla: The Story of Pattycake.

“Pattycake was perhaps the best known gorilla at the Bronx Zoo, and an institution in New York City,” said Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and WCS Executive Vice President and General Director of Zoos & Aquarium. “Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo. Pattycake was a very special animal and her presence will be deeply missed."