ASHEBORO, N.C. -- A 21-year-old male gorilla was euthanized at the N.C. Zoo on Tuesday, following more than a week of testing and treatment for an unidentified illness.

Nkosi came to North Carolina from the Columbus Zoo in March 2008 and is the father of two males, Bomassa and Apollo, who were born at the N.C. Zoo in August 2012.

Nkosi, known or Nik, became ill more than a week ago and had not been eating well, according to Adrian Fowler, curator of mammals. On Sunday morning, he collapsed.

Despite the best efforts of the zoo s veterinary and keeper staffs working round-the-clock, by Sunday morning Nik was unable to move, eat or drink, Fowler said. Experts from other zoos as well as the human medical field were consulted on the case. But based on a variety of clinical signs and laboratory tests, in the end we had no other choice but to euthanize on humane grounds. His situation had become terminal.

A necropsy, or animal autopsy, was being conducted Tuesday afternoon at the zoo. Tissue and other samples collected during the procedure will be sent to outside laboratories for further testing to try to help pinpoint the illness. Results from the tests may not come for several weeks, Fowler said.

The other gorillas at the zoo, including Bomassa and Apollo, their mothers Jamani and Olympia, and a third adult female, Acacia, remain in good health and on exhibit, according to the zoo.

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