KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Zoo Knoxville announced Friday that 44-year-old Wanto the Western lowland gorilla died.
According to the zoo, Wanto was being treated for an onset of gastrointestinal symptoms on Wednesday when he suddenly collapsed that evening.
He was announced deceased when the veterinary team arrived.
Further tests are in the works to determine his cause of death, as the geriatric gorilla had been diagnosed with cardiac disease previously.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, Western lowland gorillas remain critically endangered due to poaching and disease.
The exact population size is unknown because the subspecies inhabit some of the most remote parts of African rainforests.
National Geographic reports that the average life expectancy of Western lowland gorillas in the wild is 35 years.