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Europe’s oldest silverback gorilla turns 56

Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire helped Nico the western lowland gorilla celebrate his 56th birthday this weekend.

Keepers marked the special occasion by providing Nico with a selection of presents and a birthday cake made out of bananas and courgetttes which they topped off with carrot candles.

Nico is believed to be the oldest silverback gorilla in Europe, with the oldest male gorilla in the world living in America. Arriving at Longleat in the 1980s from Switzerland, keepers are not exactly sure how old Nico is, but the likelihood is that he may be even older than 56.

“It’s not easy to come up with new gifts for Nico but we know what he likes and so we gave him a variety of tasty treats to help him celebrate,” said keeper Mark Tye.

“Although he is now a very old man, Nico’s is still extremely active and in amazingly good condition considering his age.

“He is an extraordinarily impressive animal and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend so much time in his company,” he added.

Living in a house on an island in the middle of a lake at longleat, Nico enjoys plenty of space for natural foraging as well as outdoor facilities for play and relaxation. A series of landscaped lookout stations and giant tree trunk climbing frames enable Nico to sit and watch the antics of the nearby colony of three younger gorillas; brothers Kesho, Evindi and Alf.

For more information on visiting Longleat go to

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