World's oldest gorilla turns 58 but not everyone is celebrating

Activists say Colo should not be in a zoo

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There was a special birthday celebration at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – so special that zoo staff believed it was worth streaming around the world.

Colo, a female western lowland gorilla believed to be the oldest in the world, turned 58 on Monday. Staff helped her celebrate with an Ohio-shaped cake of peanut butter, apple sauce, honey, shredded carrots and frosting made from yoghurt.

“She gets special treatment,” zoo spokeswoman Patty Peters told The Independent. “She will also get clementines and tomatoes and staff will put up garlands because she likes that.”

Colo was born at the zoo in 1956. Officials there say she is the oldest gorilla in any zoo.

Colo is a mother of three. Her family tree includes more than two dozen descendants living at zoos across the country. She had three great-great-grandchildren, according to CBS.

Yet not everyone was impressed. Delcianna Winders of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said Colo, named for the city of Columbus, was marking her birthday in a facility where she was denied “everything that is natural and important to her”.

“Even the best artificial environments can’t come close to matching the space, diversity, and freedom that animals have in their natural habitats,” she added. “The best birthday gift for Colo would be to send her to a wildlife sanctuary where she could live out the rest of her life in a more natural habitat and bond with other gorillas.”