26 October 2019

Our silverback gorilla, Kumbuka, sadly passed away on Friday 25 October 2019. 

Working closely with Kumbuka every day, our keepers had noticed that he was unwell – he was uncharacteristically off his food and drink, appearing lethargic and not as eager to play with his family troop as usual.

Following close observation from the veterinary team, the decision was made to give Kumbuka a general anaesthetic so that the team could get a better understanding of what was making him unwell.

Once anaesthetised, and with the support of specialist doctors from University College Hospital and Guys and St Thomas’ in London, our vets could see that Kumbuka had an infection which required surgery to further investigate. Sadly this revealed that the infection was severe and widespread, and that the kindest, and only, option was to not bring him round from the anaesthesia.

We will all remember Kumbuka as a larger than life character, a devoted father of two and proud leader of the Zoo’s troop. He will be sorely missed by those who worked with him every day, and by our many visitors who were so impressed by his sheer presence – we’ll look back fondly on our charismatic, gentle giant.

Our team will now focus on ensuring the females and infants, all of whom appear healthy and well, remain settled over the coming days.

Primates at London Zoo

  • ZSL-London-Zoo_Monkey-Valley#3

    Monkey Valley

    Step into Monkey Valley and experience our troop of gravity-defying, 'high-flying' colobus monkeys leaping, lounging, swinging, and snoozing, in their new tree-top inspired habitat.

  • Three squirrel monkeys standing on a rope and eating corn at London Zoo
    Squirrel monkeys

    Squirrel monkeys

    Go in with the monkeys and observe them in their habitat.

  • Effie the gorilla having surgery at London Zoo
    12 January 2018

    Life saving gorilla surgery

    When keepers noticed that Effie was off her food and spending increasing time away from her family, they called on the Zoo’s expert veterinary team for help. 

  • Kumbuka the gorilla at London Zoo
    19 October 2016

    Kumbuka the Gorilla: What Actually Happened

    The Zoo has been the subject of much interest and speculation over the last few days, after Kumbuka, our silverback gorilla, made headlines for escaping his enclosure for a short time.

  • Our animals