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Gorilla Wake

Brookfield Zoo allows gorillas to pay last respects to group's leader 

An Illinois zoo held an unusual wake yesterday. Gorillas mourned their most influential female after zoo workers euthanized the 30-year-old. Babs had an incurable kidney condition. The Brookfield Zoo decided to let the surviving gorillas mourn Babs after zoo keepers saw a videotape of a gorilla wake at a zoo in Columbus, Ohio. One by one, the gorillas filed into the Tropic World building where Babs' body lay. Her nine-year-old daughter, Bana, was the first to approach the body. She sat down, held her mother's hand and stroked her stomach. Other gorillas approached Babs and gently sniffed the body. A zoo keeper says the display wasn't surprising. The keeper says Babs was the dominant female and "kept things in a harmonious state."

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