Born at the Jersey Zoo in 1997, the 33-year-old gorilla Julia later expired from her wounds.
The silverback Otana was born in the UK and joined the Melbourne zoo two years ago, where his introduction to the group had appeared to be working well.
Staff observed the silverback behaving aggressively towards Julia on Friday. That night, Julia removed herself from the group and spent part of the night sleeping in a heated cave outside.
The silverback male has now been separated from the group, and the upset staff are being offered counseling.
Are these animals any different from humans?
Gorillas are non-territorial and live in groups called troops that generally consist of 1 to 4 adult males (called silverbacks), some juvenile males (called black-backs), several adult females and young.
Okay—we differ in most societies by having only one adult female per family.
The oldest and strongest adult male silverback is usually dominant in the troop and has exclusive breeding rights to the females.
Chuckle. Wouldn't every hot blooded man wish he could be in this position?
Silverbacks are typically more aggressive than other group members since the troop's safety is their responsibility. The silverback makes all group decisions, is responsible for most of the calls, receives the dominant portion of food (even when resources are limited) and can terminate troublesome behavior with just a look.
In some human social structures, dictators rule with an iron fist. But mostly, people living in democracies choose to elect many powerful men to reach a decision about how we're governed.
A gorilla male must have an established home range and great strength to confront any rival before acquiring his own troop. Therefore most silverbacks are usually solitary for about four years and turn 15 before acquiring a troop of their own.
Young men often roam the dark streets looking for excitement before they reach adulthood. They sometimes attack older females while they're in the sanctuary of their homes (heated caves.)
Adult gorilla females are not bonded to one another and usually compete to groom and stay close to the silverback. Mothers are closely bonded to their offspring for the first three years of life.
Women do everything they can to make themselves look good and hope they outshine their rivals in the clothes they wear. Makeup and hair styles complete their image. When they become a mother, they are devoted to their child into adulthood.
Okay, I've exercised a fair amount of creativity with my comparisons. But, that's the way I see it. I'd like to think humans use their brain to elevate them higher than primates, but so often, that's not the case. As to the soul inside each person; I'm not sure they are more deserving than gorillas.
Here's an inspiring thought: Lift yourself above animal behavior and be the person you were meant to be. Love your neighbor—care for them as if they're part of your family.