TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Topeka Zoo lost its long-time gorilla, Tiffany, on Sunday due to ongoing health complications.
According to a release from the City of Topeka, Tiffany was taken to a local medical facility for a CT scan at 10:45 a.m. as a follow-up on a procedure of an ongoing condition. The scan revealed two abdominal masses and were identified to be tumors resulting from stage four ovarian cancer.
The 49-year-old gorilla returned to the Topeka Zoo shortly after the CT scan to undergo surgery. Soon after the surgery started, the veterinary team discovered the cancer had metastasized to the abdominal wall. The team decided not to wake Tiffany from surgery. She died around 3 p.m. on Sunday.
“Even if all the cancer affected tissue could have been removed, we just could not see an appropriate way to administer a regimen of chemotherapy to treat the cancer,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley “We made the decision that we felt was best for Tiffany and decided to not wake her up from her surgery.”
Tiffany was born on July 15, 1968 at the Kansas City Zoo. She was placed at the Topeka Zoo on October 15, 1969. In 1983 she was moved to the Buffalo Zoo, at the recommendation of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, before returning to Topeka in 1987.
“She was a big part of the persona of our zoo,” said Wiley. “It seemed like everyone knew who Tiffany was.”