(AP) PRAGUE - A gorilla has died in the Prague Zoo after accidentally hanging himself with a climbing rope, zoo officials said Friday.
The zoo said in a statement that 5-year-old Tatu was found hanging with a rope around his neck Friday morning in a sleeping room. Spokesman Michal Stastny said all attempts to revive Tatu failed.
He said there were no cameras in the room and it is not clear exactly what happened.
Mammals curator Pavel Brandl said Tatu likely unbraided one of the dozens ropes the gorillas use in their pavilion for climbing and put a strand around his neck before hanging himself.
"It was an accident," Brandl said. He said the ropes are checked daily.
Brandl said another gorilla, Kamba, appeared to be trying to help Tatu when zookeepers arrived but "it's hard to say what exactly she was doing."
Director Miroslav Bobek told AFP that they had to use a water hose to shoo the other gorillas off Tatu. The oldest member of the heard, a female gorilla named Kamba was especially "stubborn."
Bobek said the death was the most tragic event at the zoo since flooding in 2002 killed more than 100 animals.
The zoo still has six gorillas, and they are among the most popular animals there. They also raise money to help protect gorillas around the world, including the Dja gorilla reserve in Cameroon, AFP reported. Tens of thousands of people watched Tatu's birth online on May 30, 2007.