Franklin Park Zoo gorilla Little Joe to undergo medical procedure on eye

BOSTON — One of the Franklin Park Zoo’s beloved gorillas will be out of the public eye Thursday while he undergoes a medical procedure.

Little Joe will be put under anesthesia so the zoo’s medical team can examine the recent swelling around his left eye.

“Every possible effort is made to keep the animal, as well as the people involved in the procedure, safe and healthy. But of course, there is always a risk anytime anesthesia is involved,” the zoo said in a statement on Facebook. “Thank you for keeping Little Joe and his dedicated care team in your thoughts.”

Little Joe turned 30 years old in February. 30 years ago to the day, the 300-pound primate made national news when he escaped and attacked a child and a zoo employee. He was captured a few hours later.

Although Little Joe will be away from his troop, the other western lowland gorillas will still be viewable in the Tropical Rainforest.

Western lowland gorillas are the most widespread gorilla species. Although their exact population is unknown due to the remote area of Africa in which they live, they are classified as critically endangered due to poaching and disease.

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