Some sad news coming out of the Erie Zoo Wednesday morning. When the zoo re-opens in the new year, one of the most popular animals will not be there.
Samantha the gorilla passed away on Saturday.
Zoo Director Scott Mitchell announced that the zoo made the decision to euthanize her after a long illness.
She was one of Erie's most beloved animals, and was even known around the world. Samantha gained international fame for her friendship with "Panda" the rabbit, appearing on Good Morning America, and even the BBC.
"It was very emotional because Samantha was here prior to everybody that's here now," said Mitchell. "She's been here longer than any staff member so everyone knew Samantha, many of our zoo keepers grew up with Samantha, many of them had taken care of her for over 20 years."
She was 49 years old, and the zoo does not yet know if and when they will replace her.
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