Great-Great-Grandmother Gorilla Named Helen Gets 60th Birthday Bash

A captive gorilla in Kentucky has reached a very special milestone and honored with a fitting celebration.

Helen, a longtime resident of the Louisville Zoo, turned 60 years old over the weekend. She is the third-oldest of her species in North America.

The very special ape was treated to a custom fruit cake during her party on Saturday alongside her favorite members of the zoo staff and visitors eager to wish her well.

The Louisville Zoo says Helen’s advanced age is especially significant because the median age of gorillas in a managed program of an Association of Zoos and Aquarium facility is 38.3 years-old.

In the remnant wild the average age is 35, according to the zoo website.

Zoo guests were invited to sing “Happy Birthday” as Helen received special birthday enrichment items.

Helen was born in the wild, so her birth date is estimated. She lives in a gorilla group with 47-year-old Demba and is the great-great-grandmother of a gorilla named Kindi. 

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered with an estimated 100,000 left in the wild.


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