Evelyn, oldest Los Angeles Zoo gorilla, dead at 46

A gorilla at the zoo eats
Evelyn, a western lowland gorilla, enjoys a treat at the L.A. Zoo in July 2018. Zoo officials announced her death Wednesday.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

Evelyn, the oldest gorilla living at the Los Angeles Zoo, has died, zoo officials announced Wednesday.

The 46-year-old western lowland gorilla known for her fluff of red hair was euthanized after experiencing health issues over the last few weeks, the zoo said via the zoo’s Twitter account.

“We are all so deeply saddened over the loss of Evelyn,” Animal Keeper Tania Prebble said in a tweet. “Words cannot describe how much love and joy she gave everyone over her 46 years of her life. Personally, working with her these last 15 years has been a blessing.”


Zoo officials said that Evelyn lived such a long life because of the good care taken of her. Most western lowland gorillas live to 30 or 40 in the wild, officials said.

Evelyn lived her whole life at the zoo since her birth in 1976. She even attempted a daring escape from the gorilla compound in 2000.

“For about an hour and 15 minutes, Evelyn, who was born in the zoo, poked flowers, swatted at butterflies, played hide and seek with anxious zoo keepers and even went for a stroll to see orangutans, giraffes and elephants,” according to a story in The Times from 2000.

The zoo also euthanized 25-year-old black bear Ranger earlier this year as well as 42-year-old orangutan Bruno, who died in December 2021.