Longleat Safari and Adventure Park has announced that its 27-year-old male Western lowland gorilla Boulas died on Tuesday.

A full post mortem is being carried out, but early indications are that he died of respiratory failure related to an undiagnosed abscess in his throat.

Boulas had undergone a standard veterinary procedure to treat a suspected dental abscess.

Following recovery he suffered severe respiratory problems and despite the best efforts of the veterinary team, it was not possible to save him.

Longleat’s Director of Animal Operations Jon Cracknell said: “This is a tragic loss and a cause for great sadness across the entire safari park.

“Boulas’ keepers in particular have been devastated by the death of an individual they worked and lived with every day.”

Boulas, who was nicknamed Butch, arrived at Longleat in 2012 from Twycross Zoo as part of a new state-of-the-art Gorilla Colony.