Pattycake, the beloved first gorilla born in NYC, dies at 40

Posted at 5:38 PM, Apr 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-01 19:50:59-04

The first gorilla born and raised in New York City has died.

Pattycake was born at the Central Park Zoo in 1972 and then in 1983 she moved to the Bronx zoo.  “The Shirley Temple of the animal world” drew crowds, even sparking a custody battle between two zoos by breaking her arm.  Zoo officials believed that Pattycake — then 6 months old — broke her right arm, possibly during a little rough play with her parents.

Pattycake was taken to the Bronx Zoo to recuperate, where she stayed afterwards for three months.  During that time the Central Park Zoo fought to get Pattycake back, and she was finally returned — setting up an emotional reunion with her parents.

Gorilla Pattycake

In 1983, Pattycake moved back to the Bronx Zoo where she would give birth to 10 infants.

She had recently been suffering from cardiac problems — but the cause of death has not yet been determined.

Pattycake was 40 years old.