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Harambe's Grandmother Euthanized At Miami Zoo

The 49-year-old gorilla suffered from long-term health problems.

19/01/2017 1:20 PM AEDT | Updated 20/01/2017 6:48 AM AEDT

The Miami zoo announced Wednesday the death of its matriarch gorilla, Josephine, the grandmother of the internet’s most famous gorilla, Harambe

This morning, when Josephine could hardly move, even to reach for her favorite treat, the staff knew the right thing to do,” the zoo wrote in a post to Facebook. “They made the very difficult decision to humanely euthanize her. That procedure was successfully performed this afternoon.”

According to the zoo, Josephine was nearly 50 years old at the time of her death, which is old age for a gorilla, and had been suffering from long-term health problems.

“A variety of exams and tests performed over the last several days showed several abnormalities that indicated systemic terminal conditions that had no chance for positive outcomes or hope for recovery,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.

Josephine was born in 1967 and gave birth to her first offspring, Moja, a male gorilla, in 1984, reports the Miami Herald. Moja went on to father Harambe.

Harambe made national news in May 2016, when zoo staffers at the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed him after a child fell into the gorilla enclosure. The event caused considerable outrage, and memorializing the deceased gorilla consequently became one of 2016’s most pervasive memes.

Following the incident, the Cincinnati Zoo received massive attention from all corners of the internet, prompting it to plead with social media users to stop creating memes and let zoo staff “move forward.”

In the wake of Josephine’s  death, we wish the Miami zoo (and all of their social media accounts) the best of luck. But while the internet churns out more unhelpful memes, remember that there are more effective ways to support gorillas and animal conservation.

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