Miami-Dade County

Harambe’s grandma, Zoo Miami’s matriarch gorilla, dies

Josephine gives baby Johari a ride on the back at Zoo Miami in 2002.
Josephine gives baby Johari a ride on the back at Zoo Miami in 2002. AP File

Zoo Miami’s matriarch gorilla, also known as the grandma of internet-famous gorilla Harambe, died just before reaching age 50, the zoo announced Wednesday.

Josephine was euthanized after struggling with years of health problems, said spokesman Ron Magill. Zoo staffers made the decision after the elderly gorilla was unable to reach for her favorite treat Wednesday morning.

She was born in the wild in March 1967 and came to Zoo Miami in 1983 on loan from the National Institute of Health. She gave birth to her first offspring, a male named Moja, in 1984. He was the first gorilla born at Zoo Miami.

Moja moved to Gladys Porter Zoo, where he fathered several gorillas, including Harambe.

Harambe made headlines last year when zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo shot him to protect a child that had fallen into the enclosure. The deceased gorilla went on to become a well-known internet meme.

With Josephine’s passing, 42-year-old Fredrika, the only remaining gorilla at Zoo Miami, will be transferred to another zoo.

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc

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