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Hunt begins to find the replacement silverback for Harry.

Byline: BLANAID MURPHY

A GLOBAL hunt is on to find a new silverback gorilla to lead the troop at Dublin Zoo following the sudden death of Harry.

One of the zoo's star attractions, he passed away at the age of 29 on Sunday, following a short illness.

The beast, originally from West Africa, controlled the five other gorillas in the troop and zoo chiefs now have the serious task of finding a suitable replacement.

Director Leo Oosterweghel explained: "The troop here is now without a leader and that's a big deal.

"The troop is led by the silverback.

"A gorilla starts with black hair on their back but because of their leadership role, hormones trigger a change and they become silverbacks. They cannot reverse that.

HABITAT "It's going to be a challenge watching this over the coming months.

"It's also going to be a great challenge to find a replacement."

A spokeswoman for Dublin Zoo said the new silverback gorilla will be sourced through a stud book keeper.

The animal's natural habitat is in Nigeria, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

The spokeswoman added: "Harry's death was unexpected and the process of finding a potential silverback is going to take time.

"Dublin Zoo is part of a European wide network of zoos and there is a stud book keeper for each species.

"The stud book keeper for Western lowland gorillas will search zoos for a suitable male that will be a match for the troop at Dublin Zoo.

"Money is never exchanged between zoos. The recipient zoo will however pay for the transport."

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 1, 2016
Words:269
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