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Koundu (born October 6, 1975 in Kent, England; died September 12, 2011 in Birmingham) was a silverback Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) who was exhibited at the Birmingham Zoo from 2010 until his death.

Koundu (pronounced Koon-doo) was born to Kisoro and Mouila at Howlett's Wild Animal Park in Kent. When his mother, Mouila, couldn't provide adequate care, Lady Sarah Aspinall raised him by hand. He was later transferred to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, where he sired several children, including a son, Cenzoo, who remained his companion until death. In April 1996, Koundu; Cenzoo; Cenzoo's mother, Jo-Ray-K; and a fourth gorilla were moved to the new Primate Panorama exhibit at the Denver Zoo.

In March 2003, Koundu and Cenzoo were transferred to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida as part of the internationally recognized Species Survival Plan (SSP) administered by members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Dominance issues later led the pair to be separated while there.

The pair were transferred to the Birmingham Zoo in 2010 and was frequently exhibited alongside his son. His favorite food was Romaine lettuce, a head of which he could consume in three bites.

Koundu died from "cardiac tamponade secondary to complications due to a dissecting aneurism of the ascending aorta" while recovering from a routine echocardiogram performed by zoo veterinarian Stephanie McCain, a member of the Great Ape Cardiac Health Working Group. His heart and associated great vessels were sent to veterinary pathologist Linda Lowenstine for further study.


  • Westerman, Alex. (December 2, 2005). "Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s Baby Gorilla Named." Thrill Network.
  • Cayton-Holland, Adam. (February 15, 2007). "Super Ape." Denver Westword.
  • Dewar, Jane. (May 17, 2009). "Special Gorillas." Gorilla Haven.
  • "Enjoy the Zoo this Memorial Day Weekend & See Our New Family of Animals." (May 27, 2010). Zoonews (electronic newsletter). Birmingham Zoo.
  • "Birmingham Zoo's 35-year-old gorilla, Koundu, dies." (September 13, 2011) Birmingham News