Babydoll the gorilla dies at Canterbury wildlife park

Babydoll, a western lowland gorilla Image copyright The Aspinall Foundation/Howletts
Image caption Babydoll was born in 1961 and hand-raised by the Aspinall family

Babydoll, the UK's oldest female western lowland gorilla, has died at the age of 57.

Babydoll had recently become ill, Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury said.

Park owner and Aspinall Foundation chairman Damian Aspinall said the gorilla's dedicated keepers had been treating her with regular medication.

A park spokesman said she was euthanised after not being able to eat for four days.

Babydoll was hand-raised by the Aspinall family after being orphaned.

'Truly original'

Damian Aspinall said: "I have many memories of her from my childhood through to now and will never forget her.

"She had the sweetest, yet a quirkiness to her nature that made her truly original."

The gorilla gave birth to seven youngsters, four males and three females.

The park said she was survived by three of her offspring.

One of her grandsons was among the first group of male western lowland gorillas returned to the wild by The Aspinall Foundation.

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