Oldest gorilla in the UK dies at the age of 60

The much loved Delilah Credit: Belfast City Council

Delilah the gorilla was the oldest gorilla in the UK and one of the oldest in the world. She celebrated her 60th birthday in late 2023 and lived at Belfast Zoo. 

Delilah reached this remarkable age due to the constant love and care of the animal teams at the Zoo. 

Unfortunately, after recently suffering from a chest infection, and being in ill health for some time, the decision was taken to put Delilah to sleep to prevent further decline in her condition.

Belfast Zoo curator Julie Mansell stated that: “Because of her advanced years we knew this day would come but it is still a difficult time for everyone who was involved with Delilah during her life at Belfast.”

Delilah was previously featured on the show Animal Magic with Johnny Morris, and had lived at the zoo for 32 years

During recent years, Delilah had been kept on a specialised diet and received baby porridge with her medication each morning.

The statement released by Belfast Zoo said: ‘The team is deeply saddened by her loss. During her 32 years at Belfast Zoo, Delilah was a character and was loved by keepers and visitors.’

‘Delilah arrived at Belfast in 1992 and was part of the first gorilla group here.’

‘Visitors to the zoo over the years have delighted in watching Delilah playing with the young gorillas and much to their surprise going up to the highest point of the climbing frame.’

 ‘Delilah was a character, she was never one to miss out on a group tussle and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the youngsters and was good at keeping them in line.’

‘Although she did have her more grumpy moments, anyone who worked with her quickly grew very fond of her.’

People from all over the world have flooded social media with messages of love for the gorilla, with many adults reminiscing on visiting her during their childhood. 

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Written by

Jennifer Popplewell

Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.