St. Louis zoo gorilla ‘Little Joe’, who had two Covid shots, dies of heart attack

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News May 6, 2024

Bless the beasts and the children,For in this world they have no voice,They have no choice … — Bless the Beasts and the Children, The Carpenters

“Little Joe” the gorilla died late Saturday night at the Saint Louis Zoo after suffering a heart attack, the zoo announced. Joe was around 26.

Little Joe

“It is with incredible sadness we share that western lowland gorilla Little Joe, who had been in treatment for heart disease, died of a heart attack overnight May 4th. Joe’s wonderful personality and lovable grumpy face endeared him to all who knew him. He will be greatly missed.”

The St. Louis Zoo had announced in September 2021 that it was, on an experimental basis, giving two shots of the Zoetis Covid vaccine to what it considered its “at-risk” primates.

“We are very fortunate to partner with Zoetis and have access to this vaccine as an added layer of protection to keep our animals healthy,” Luis Padilla, DVM, Vice President of Animal Collections, Saint Louis Zoo, said at the time. “Throughout the pandemic, no animal has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Saint Louis Zoo. We have relied on biosecurity and PPE best practices for animal safety, and as we welcome this animal vaccine, we will continue to emphasize that prioritizing the health of our staff remains the best tool to keep our animals healthy.”

Joe was known for his intelligence. Signs at the Saint Louis Zoo call him Joe, The Professor, and he used tools. Many zoo visitors witnessed Joe observe them behind the glass wall.

Gorillas live for 30 or 40 years in the wild.

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