Gorillas on a diet

Zoo switches to healthful food after gorilla dies of heart disease

An experiment in Cleveland, Ohio, may prompt zookeepers across North America to switch their captive gorillas to a low-sugar, leafy-greens diet to cut back on heart disease, according to media reports.

Researchers at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo recently started feeding two male Western lowland gorillas a low-sugar diet that includes endive, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, green beans, alfalfa, flax seeds and multivitamins. The gorillas were placed on the diet after a 21-year-old male gorilla at the facility died from heart disease. So far, the two have lost 65 pounds each. They have also stopped odd behaviors, including vomiting and re-consuming it, as well as plucking out their hair and eating it.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of gorillas in captivity, likely due to limited mobility and a high-starch, sugary diet.