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Say Bye-Bye To Patrick, Dallas Zoo's Antisocial Gorilla

Dallas Zoo
Patrick the gorilla is antisocial. So, after 18 years at the Dallas Zoo, he's moving to South Carolina.

For years, the Dallas Zoo has tried to play matchmaker with Patrick the gorilla.

But Patrick won’t be anyone’s close friend.

So the Western lowland gorilla is moving on to a new home in South Carolina.

Patrick has spent the past 18 years at the Dallas Zoo, but he doesn’t socialize. He prefers being by himself, zoo officials say.

He’ll head to Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, S.C., where the silverback will live alone, but near other gorillas. It's for the best, Dallas Zoo officials say.

While Patrick is a loner, he remains popular among Dallas Zoo visitors. When he first arrived in Dallas, he sat close to the habitat windows and tapped on the glass, pointing at visitors and their painted toenails.

Patrick, 23, was born at the Bronx Zoo. Why is he antisocial? Blame it on his mom. She neglected him, so he didn’t learn to mix with other gorillas.

The Dallas Zoo has a mixed history with gorillas. In 2004, Jabari, a 350-pound gorilla, escaped his enclosure and attacked and injured three visitors. Police shot and killed Jabari on zoo grounds.

There will be a happier ending for Patrick. The Dallas Zoo will host a “We’ll Miss Ya, Patrick!”celebration on Saturday and Sunday. Zoo admission will be $5 for visitors 3 and older. Mini cupcakes will be available at 12:45 p.m. at the Gorilla Trail. There will be a gorilla keeper presentation at 2:30 p.m. Guests can also sign a card for Patrick and zoo staff.

Gorilla fans, don’t be too sad. The zoo has six other gorillas, including Madge; her daughter, Shanta; B’wenzi; Juba; Shana; and Zola, who is Shana’s half-brother.

The Dallas Zoo plans to introduce Shana and Zola to B’wenzi and Juba to form the zoo’s largest bachelor troop.

Zola might sound familiar. He’s known as the break-dancing gorilla on YouTube. His dancing – more like playing around in a puddle – has been viewed more than 3 million times. Watch him in action:

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.