Harambe's grandmother Josephine is dead at 49

January 19, 2017, 12:59pm

Yesterday another tragedy struck the family of Harambe, the late gorilla turned internet sensation, when his paternal grandmother Josephine was euthanized at Zoo Miami, in Miami, Florida.

The “matriarch gorilla” was 49 years old and had been suffering from unnamed medical conditions. The zoo said in a Facebook post that Josephine had “no chance for positive outcomes or hope for recovery.” Josephine gained attention in 2009 when she received successful surgery for cataracts that outfitted her with two “artificial human lenses.”

The death marks the passing of Harambe’s last surviving grandparent. Harambe’s father, Moja, and mother, Kayla, are also deceased.

According to Ron Magill of the Miami Zoo, Moja sired 15 children, including Harambe. Most are believed to be alive, and living in zoos around the U.S.

However, the larger family of Josephine and Harambe, the western lowland gorilla subspecies, is “critically endangered” according to the World Wildlife Fund. Populations of the gorilla species have declined by 60 percent over the last 20 to 25 years, largely due to poaching.

Photo credit: Miami Zoo.