Obituary: Ivan – the “B&I gorilla” – died Monday at age 50 after a brief illness.
The native of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a former South Sound resident who lived with a local family for three years, then at their store before residing briefly in Seattle. He moved to Zoo Atlanta in 1994, where he lived until his death.
Although Ivan had no children, he had many devoted fans.
When I came to the Tacoma area in 1978, someone told me I had to see “the B&I gorilla.” I kind of wish I hadn’t. Ivan was in an inside enclosure and seemed lackadaisical and bored. I was thrilled when I heard that he would go to a zoo to be among his own kind and maybe even have a shot at being a father. That was not to be, however.
From the news report on Ivan’s death, it sounds like he led a happy life at Zoo Atlanta. Thanks to the folks there who took such good care of him and gave him at least a semblance of a normal ape life.