VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Third-oldest gorilla in U.S. celebrates 52nd birthday today (picture)

Vila, the third-oldest western lowland gorilla in the U.S., celebrated her 52nd birthday at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park today by unwrapping presents full of fruit, nuts and seeds, and eating a peanut-butter frosted banana ice cake topped with carrot “candles,” the zoo said in a caption sent to us with this photo.


Photo courtesy San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park

“For the party, the gorilla enclosure at the Wild Animal Park was decorated with flowers, ginger leaves, ‘Happy Birthday’ signs stuck to rocks with peanut butter, and streamers in hues of pink, yellow, blue and orange. The entire six-member troop celebrated the milestone, enjoying treats and presents through the morning.

“Vila has some age-related issues so she gets senior vitamins and medicine for arthritis. But, she has no trouble getting around, something she proved today when she grabbed a present and took it into a cave to open in private,” the zoo said.

Born in Africa in 1957, Vila was hand-raised at the San Diego Zoo’s Children’s Zoo. “She has four grand-gorillas, four great-grand-gorillas and three great-great-grand-gorillas. They live at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park and at two other zoos in the U.S.,” the zoo added.