Although the beginning and end of Ivan the gorilla’s half century on this planet were spent enjoying the serenity of nature, his long career as an attraction in a Tacoma, Washington mall meant much of his time was spent with only passing customers for company.
From the late sixties to the mid-nineties, Ivan entertained shoppers in a 14’x14’ concrete cage, smoking cigarettes, eating burgers and watching TV, which might seem an ideal life to some, but not an intelligent creature who may have remembered his early years wandering what was then Zaire.
When he was finally moved to Zoo Atlanta, his solitary confinement seemed to have resulted in a lifetime habit of loneliness, though he was always in site of his fellow gorillas, and Ivan, one of the oldest gorillas in captivity, died following surgery to determine what was causing his listlessness.
Rest in peace, Ivan.
Animal obituaries at NPR.Author on Google+