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After seizure, gorilla receives MRI scan free of charge

The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today that a 42-year-old western lowland gorilla named Fubo received a free MRI scan after suffering a seizure at his home in the Bronx Zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit.

The MRI was provided by The Brain Tumor Foundation, which sent a 48-foot-long moveable MRI facility to the zoo. Overseen by vets, zookeepers, and various medical personnel, the scan revealed that Fubo had a lesion on his left temporal lobe of his brain. Currently, the cause is unknown, but the scan showed that the problem is inoperable, however the zoo staff continue to treat the gorilla with medication.

Dr. Stephanie B. James holds Fubo’s breathing tube steady as he is transported to the Bobby Murcer Mobile MRI Unit. Image Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.

WCS veterinary staff and technicians from the Brain Tumor Foundation and other groups perform an MRI of a gorilla. Image Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.

“Thanks to the generosity of The Brain Tumor Foundation, we were able to perform an MRI of Fubo’s brain and this gave us insights into the possible cause of his illness. The ability to use their mobile MRI unit allowed us to perform this procedure right here at the Bronx Zoo,” said Dr. Paul P. Calle, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoological Health Program and a participant in the MRI procedure. “These images have given us a better understanding of the possible causes of Fubo’s problem and have helped to guide his care. It was a great opportunity to enlist the most progressive technology for the diagnosis of people with similar problems to our close relative the endangered gorilla. The procedure contributes to the knowledge of veterinary health care of gorillas and other primates which will help WCS’s health care programs and those of all facilities that house and care for gorillas.”

Fubo is one of two adult males at the Bronx Zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit, which houses a total of 20 gorillas.

The western lowland gorilla is a subspecies of the lowland gorilla. Critically-endangered, the western lowland gorilla has an estimated 150,000-200,000 individuals in the wild. The number was upped significantly after WCS discovered an unknown population of approximately 100,000 gorillas in the Republic of Congo in 2006-2007.

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