The body of JoJo, beloved Brookfield Zoo gorilla, will join Field Museum’s mammal collection
JoJo the gorilla was beloved by thousands of zoo visitors. His remains will now be appreciated by evolutionary scientists.
The body of JoJo, a 485-pound silverback gorilla who died two weeks ago at the Brookfield Zoo, will become catalogued into the Field Museum’s mammal collection and made available for scientific study.
“JoJo will be added to our collection so that scientists can study his remains to learn more about how gorillas evolved and how we might be able to help protect them,” said Kate Golembiewski, a spokeswoman for the museum.
More information on how JoJo’s body was to be preserved wasn’t immediately available because the museum’s mammal collection manager was doing field work and could not be reached.
Golembiewski said she didn’t believe JoJo’s body would be placed on public display.
The taxidermy remains of another beloved western lowland gorilla named Bushman, who died in 1951 at the Lincoln Park Zoo, are on display at the museum’s east entrance.
The museum’s collection of animals and plants essentially forms a library of life on earth, and the museum’s mammals collection alone contains more than 230,000 preserved specimens. Only a fraction of the collection is on public display.
JoJo was 42, a senior citizen in gorilla years. The median life expectancy for male gorillas in managed care is 32 years, according to the Chicago Zoological Society, which runs the suburban zoo.
The western lowland silverback gorilla went into cardiac arrest July 31 during an emergency veterinary procedure prompted by an acute illness, according to the zoo. Officials are awaiting the results of a necropsy.
Following his death, the zoo posted a Facebook message that read: “JoJo was very smart and learned new behaviors quickly during husbandry training sessions. He was known for keeping order in the gorilla group by quickly breaking up squabbles and often showed his gentler and patient side when interacting with his offspring.”
Animal care staff gathered at the zoo after Jojo passed to celebrate the silverback’s life, zoo spokeswoman Sondra Katzen said. Brookfield Zoo police officers brought their canine officers, Kirby and Charlie, to the zoo’s animal hospital to comfort staff.
During his 10 years at Brookfield Zoo, JoJo sired three offspring — Nora in 2013, Zachary in 2015 and Ali in 2018.
He also sired an offspring in 2003 when he was at Louisville Zoo, and in 2004, he sired a female at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Western lowland gorillas are considered a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Causes for their endangerment include habitat destruction and degradation, diseases such as Ebola and commercial hunting.