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  1. News

Baby gorilla dies during medical treatment at Busch Gardens in Tampa

Kamari, an infant gorilla, is pictured with her mother, Mary, in a photo posted to Facebook the month after she was born. [Busch Gardens, via Facebook]

TAMPA — A baby gorilla, born in February at Busch Gardens, died Wednesday while being treated for a neurological illness.

The female gorilla named Kamari died while undergoing an MRI test, the park announced Thursday. Animal pediatricians were administering the test to diagnose a neurological condition.

She received general anesthesia before the test. During the procedure, her heart rate and breathing diminished and she became unresponsive, according to a Busch Gardens news release. A medical team tried to revive her before she was declared dead.

"This is certainly a difficult time for the Busch Gardens family," veterinarian Peter Black said in a statement. "But we will learn from our experience with this animal, including the circumstances of her death, and share our insights within the zoological community so that we can continue to advance husbandry and veterinary care for this species."

Kamari, whose name is Swahili for "moonlight," was born in February and cared for by her mother, Mary.

Within weeks of her birth, Busch Gardens veterinary and animal care teams noticed that the baby gorilla was not physically developing at an expected rate, had trouble supporting her body weight, and was not fully using her lower extremities. Physical exams were conducted, but the teams had not been able to identify the gorilla's exact condition.