Zoo Gorillas Go Heart-Healthy with New Diet

02/23/2011

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Gorillas at some U.S. zoos are going on a diet. Just like humans, many are dying of heart disease, so researchers in Cleveland are putting primates on a more heart-healthy diet, similar to what they’d eat in the wild.

Read more at ScienceDaily.

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Veterinary cardiologist Steven Rosenthal performs a routine cardiac exam on Kigali, National Zoo's 15-year-old female western lowland gorilla, in Washington.

Heart disease is the number one killer of Western lowland gorillas in North American zoos and after a 21-year-old gorilla named Brooks died of heart failure at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2005, researchers there started to take a closer look at gorilla heart health.

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Instead of the high-sugar and high-starch food that zoos have fed gorillas for years, the Cleveland zoo now serves wheelbarrows full of romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, endive, alfalfa and bananas stuffed with multivitamins. The new diet is also being tested at zoos in Columbus, Toronto and Seattle.

Photo Credits: Jupiterimages/Thinkstock | REUTERS/Mehgan Murphy/National Zoological Park/Handout | Tamas Kovacs/epa/Corbis |


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