Barcelona’s albino gorilla, Snowflake (Floquet de Neu), has died
The only known albino gorilla, Snowflake, the most famous resident of Barcelona Zoo and one of the emblematic symbols of the city of Barcelona, died this morning at 6.40 h after the veterinary team decided to practice euthanasia in order to prevent him from undue suffering caused by skin cancer, which was diagnosed in 2001. Snowflake's body will be given to science for the study of genetic and brain material. The Parc Científic de Barcelona is one of the centres that will perform these studies.
After his accidental capture in jungle of the Muni river in Equatorial Guinea in 1966, Snowflake was brought to Barcelona. The albino gorilla joined the Barcelona Zoo thanks to the ethologist and emeritus professor of the Universitat de Barcelona (UB, University of Barcelona), Jordi Sabater Pi, who at that time held the post of director of the Centre for Adaptation and Zoological Experimentation of Ikunde in Equatorial Guinea. The documentation regarding Snowflake, which includes illustrations by Jordi Sabater Pi himself, can be consulted in the Sabater Pi Collection, located in the Humanities Library, in the area of the Parc Científic.
Born in 1922, Jordi Sabater Pi began to self-study ethology and anthropology during his visit to Equatorial Guinea between 1940 and 1969. There he started field research, which led him to become one of the most eminent international experts on the study of primates and amphibians in their natural habitat. On returning to Barcelona, he studied Psychology and in 1977 became professor of the UB where he was a pioneer in ethology in Spain. Emeritus professor of the UB since 1987, Jordi Sabater Pi is also a «Doctor Honoris Causa» from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Autonomous University of Madrid) and has been awarded, among other prizes, the Catalan Research Foundation Prize (1991) and the Medalla d’Or (Gold Medal) awarded by the city council of Barcelona for scientific merit (1996). In 2000 Jordi Sabater Pi received the Saint George Cross from the Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Government of Catalonia).