Most Shared

Another year, another epic birthday for Colo, the oldest known gorilla on Earth.

Colo, the world's oldest gorilla, is a great-great-grandma at the Columbus Zoo.

Another year, another epic birthday for Colo, the oldest known gorilla on Earth.

Today, Colo — the oldest living gorilla in captivity — turns 59 years old!

In Ohio, where Colo lives at the Columbus Zoo, they're celebrating in style.


A photo from this party animal's 58th birthday last year. Photo courtesy of Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; used with permission.

"It's not yet the big 6-0," Audra Meinelt, an assistant curator at the zoo, said in a press release provided to Upworthy. "But it's the big 5-9."

59 years old may not seem that outrageous. But for gorillas? It's a big deal.

Seeing as the average female gorilla lives about 37 years, Colo's matriarchal status as the "queen of the Columbus Zoo" is seriously deserved.

Colo isn't new to this whole "making headlines" thing, either. She's been a celebrity in her own right for decades.

Long before Colo first began setting records for her old age in 2012, Colo made news for being the very first gorilla to be born in human care. That was way back in 1956.

Check out the video evidence below.

All GIFs via the ColumbusZooMedia/YouTube.

Seeing as she was the first gorilla to be born in a zoo, mistakes were made while raising her. They'd separated her from her mother out of fear that her mother would harm her, for example.

"Everyone was terrified to give her back to her mom," veterinarian Dr. Richard Vesper told The Columbus Dispatch. "Their fears overwhelmed their scientific rationale, and they wouldn’t take the risk. They made decisions at the gut level.”

But much was learned about the species and its protection because of Colo and her long, long bloodline. She's the great-grandmother of Timu, the first surviving baby gorilla conceived through artificial insemination.

And, by the way, since Timu gave birth to her first little one in 2003, Colo is a great-great-grandmother.

Clearly, Colo's big day is a big deal. So the zoo celebrated with cake, special surprises, and lots of colorful construction paper chains.

And the whole world was invited.

Photo, taken at Colo's 58th birthday party, courtesy of Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; used with permission.

Partygoers dropped in between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2015, to celebrate with Colo, who snacked on treats of clementines and tomatoes and opened presents. Rumor has it there were also some specially made cupcakes for her and her gorilla friends.

Even cooler, those of us who couldn't be in Columbus got to watch the party online. (Last year, 4,000 people from 31 countries did just that to ring in Colo's 58th year.)

As far as her health? Colo's in great shape.

There's no reason to think there won't be a 60th birthday coming next holiday season.

Photo taken at Colo's 58th birthday party, courtesy of Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; used with permission.

“She is amazing because she is the oldest gorilla in a zoo and doesn’t have significant health problems,” Meinelt said. “Her biggest ailment is arthritis. She hasn’t had any noticeable health changes in the last year. Her health has been fantastic.”

Cheers to another year well-lived, Queen.

Check out this incredible video that was produced by the Columbus Zoo in recognition of Colo's 57th birthday a couple years ago:

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

Elijah McClain was a kind, unique, and gentle soul, according to those who knew him. He was a vegetarian and a pacifist who worked as a massage therapist. He played his violin for shelter kittens during his lunch break because he thought the animals were lonely.

One evening two summers ago, McClain was walking home from a convenience store, waving his arms to music he was listening to on his headphones, when Aurora police approached him after getting a call about a "suspicious" man in the area. McClain was wearing a ski/runner's mask, which his sister said he often did because he tended to get cold easily. Police tackled him to the ground and held him in a carotid hold—a restraint technique banned in some cities for its potential danger. He was given a shot of ketamine by paramedics. He had a heart attack on the way to the hospital and died there three days later.

He was a 23-year-old Black man. He was unarmed. He wasn't a suspect in any crime. And his last words to the police were absolutely devastating.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less
via The Marshall Project

There are few situations that are more stressful than being incarcerated. The threat of physical violence looms over everything. You are separated from the people you love. Your personal freedom is all but gone.

One stressor that's seldom discussed is the psychological abuse people experiencing incarceration must endure from prison staff, namely their corrections officers.

This form of punishment was outlined in a thesis by Patrick Doolittle, a senior at Yale studying criminal justice, called "'The Zo': Disorientation and Retaliatory Disorientation in American Prisons."

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Public education is one of the most complex issues under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has made it far more complicated. The question of how to meet the needs of kids who come from diverse families, communities, and socioeconomic circumstances—not to mention having diverse mental strengths, interests, and challenges of their own—is never simple, and adding the difficulty of living through a pandemic with its lack of certainty, structure, and security is a whole freaking lot.

Kids' individual experiences during the pandemic have varied greatly. While the overall situation has been hard for everyone, some kids have actually thrived at home, away from the rigid schedules and social quagmire of traditional school. Other kids have floundered without the routine and personal interaction, while still others are stuck in terrible home situations or have needs that can't be met by parents alone. Some kids are being greatly harmed by missing school.

Educators, politicians, public health officials, and parents have gone around and around for the past year trying to figure out what smart, what's safe, what's necessary, and what's not for kids during COVID-19. Many of us are worried about the mental health and educational struggles children are facing. There are no easy answers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

However, there is an attitude that we can take that will serve all our children as more kids move back to the classroom. A 40-year veteran of our education system, former New York teacher and administrator Therea Thayer Snyder, wrote a letter on Facebook that has resonated with teachers and parents alike. In it, she describes what our kids have experienced during the pandemic, how academic standards and measures no longer apply, and what schools can do to help kids process what they've been through. It reads:

Keep Reading Show less