Gorilla

Happy 1st Birthday to Kitoko, One of Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Ambassadors!

World Wildlife Day 2021 was particularly special for Woodland Park Zoo this year because it ushered in the 1st birthday of little Kitoko, a male western lowland gorilla born March 4 during the pandemic. “While the zoo was closed for nearly four months, we shared loads of photos of Kitoko—his milestones and tender moments—with our community and zoo family. He has touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people during a tumultuous time and brought so much joy,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator of Woodland Park Zoo.

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“Kitoko’s wild cousins live in tropical rain forests, so his birthday is the perfect time to pay tribute to the communities and wildlife who depend on those forests for survival,” added Ramirez. Western lowland gorillas live in seven countries across west equatorial Africa, including Congo, southeast Nigeria, Gabon and Central African Republic.
 
Forests and woodlands are mainstays of human livelihoods and well-being. Indigenous and rural communities have a particularly close relationship with these natural systems. They rely on these systems to meet their essential needs, from food and shelter to energy and medicines. Forests, forest wildlife, and the livelihoods that depend on them are facing multiple crises: from climate change to deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Baby Gorilla Born at Zoo Berlin

The little ape with its small, delicate body and big dark eyes hides shyly in the arms of its mother Bibi (24). Following a gestation period of about eight and a half months, the infant was born at Zoo Berlin on the night of 15 February. The last time a gorilla came into the world here was 16 years ago. For the Zoo Berlin team, it is now a case of watching from the sidelines with wonder and bated breath: “We are very relieved that the baby looks fit and healthy and that the mother appears to be taking good care of her offspring,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. During these crucial early days, only division head Christian Aust and his team of animal keepers will enter the Primate House – which is currently closed to visitors anyway due to coronavirus restrictions. “Peace and quiet are top priority,” says Knieriem.

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Bibi spent the first nine years of her life in a gorilla family at Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands. During this time, she observed other gorillas taking care of their young, which provided her with a good example of how to raise her own infant. At birth, a baby gorilla is greyish pink in colour and has just a few dark hairs on its head and back. The skin starts to turn black only after a couple of days. This is the first offspring for both Bibi and Zoo Berlin’s silverback Sango (16). “For the first few months, a baby gorilla is completely dependent on its mother’s care and lives off her milk for four to five years,” explains Zoo Berlin’s veterinarian Dr. André Schüle. “Little gorillas can hold on to their mother’s fur from the moment they are born, and she carries them around wherever she goes – initially on her tummy and later on her back.” As mother and baby are not yet being approached by either animal keepers or veterinarians, the baby’s sex is not known and its birth weight could not be determined. Generally, newborn gorillas weigh about two kilos. “Happily, we have already observed the young gorilla suckling,” reports Schüle. Although the whole gorilla group is showing a lot of interest in the new family member, the mother is solely responsible for rearing her infant. As well as Sango and Bibi, Zoo Berlin’s gorilla family includes females Djambala (19) and Mpenzi (35). Elderly Fatou (63), the oldest known gorilla in the world, is spending her retirement in a separate, neighbouring habitat.

Gorillas are the largest and heaviest of the great apes. An adult male can measure up to two metres when standing upright and weighs about 220 kilos. On the recommendation of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), male gorilla Sango moved from Pairi Daiza in Belgium to Zoo Berlin in February 2019 to complete Berlin’s gorilla family. Tragically, these remarkable herbivores are threatened with extinction in the wild because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting.


Woodland Park Zoo’s gorilla mom has given birth to her second baby

SEATTLE—The baby boom continues at Woodland Park Zoo with the birth of a western lowland gorilla and it’s a girl! The mom, Nadiri (naw-DEER-ee), gave birth Friday, January 29, at 10:25 a.m. (PST). The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months.

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Credit for photos and video: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
 
Shortly after birth, zoo gorilla and veterinary staff had to step in and place the baby under round-the-clock care in the gorilla building because Nadiri had not picked up her baby to nurse or keep her warm enough the first day. Staff are nourishing the baby by bottle feeding her human infant formula, keeping her warm and providing her with short visits with her mother; the baby is doing well.
 
The first 72 hours of life are the most critical for a newborn gorilla. “We will continue to provide hands-on care while keeping the baby in close proximity to Nadiri 24/7 and attempting to reintroduce her to mom,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. Nadiri has visual, auditory and olfactory contact with her baby. “We will continue to introduce Nadiri to her baby. She is staying close and has picked up her baby for short periods over the weekend, but has not shown any interest in nursing her. By doing short introduction sessions frequently throughout each day, we hope her maternal instinct will soon kick in.”

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Second Baby Born at Bristol Zoo Gardens in Sixth Months

A baby gorilla has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens, the second in less than six months.

The tiny western lowland gorilla arrived in the early hours of December 22 in the Gorilla House at the heart of the Zoo.

Mum Touni gave birth naturally to the infant, with dad, Jock, and the rest of the family troop nearby. Keepers arrived in the morning to find the little gorilla being cradled in its mother’s arms.

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It is 13-year-old Touni’s second baby. In April 2017 she gave birth to Ayana, who still lives at the Zoo.

The new infant was born just four months after another gorilla, ten-year-old Kala, gave birth to Hasani – currently being hand-reared by keepers after Kala struggled to care for him.

Nigel Simpson, Bristol Zoological Society’s Head of Animal Collections, said: “It is simply wonderful to see a new-born gorilla, they are so charismatic and such an iconic species.”

The birth is also important in helping to safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas, which are Critically Endangered in the wild.

Nigel said: “Touni is an excellent mother and she is taking very good care of her baby. All the early signs are positive and the baby looks to be strong and healthy. We will be keeping a very close eye on both mother and baby as these early days are so important.

“This is also great news for Bristol Zoological Society, which operates both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, as we are part of an internationally important breeding and conservation programme.”

The new gorilla joins the troop of seven others at the Zoo, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.

One of Bristol Zoological Society’s flagship conservation projects focuses on western lowland gorillas in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea. This area is highlighted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically important for the conservation of the species.

For more than 20 years the Society has also supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.

Gorillas are hunted for their meat and their young are regularly taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.

Visitors to the Zoo should be able to see the new gorilla as they pass through the Gorilla House or look onto the Gorilla Island outside.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project. It is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo and Wild Place, but also its vital conservation and research projects across four continents.

In March the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’. The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more, or to make a donation, visit https://bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.

Visitors to Bristol Zoo Gardens are recommended to book online in advance  https://bristolzoo.org.uk/online-booking.


Hand-rearing a Baby Gorilla at Bristol Zoo

An infant western lowland gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens is being given round-the-clock care by keepers.

The baby, which keepers now know is male, is two months old and was delivered naturally but has not been feeding well and his mother, Kala, has been finding looking after him challenging. 

He was not getting enough milk from Kala to survive so a small team of experienced keepers is now caring for him and bottle feeding him day and night.

This will continue for the next four months after which it is hoped he will be ready to return to the rest of the group.

During the day, the baby gorilla is being looked after in the Gorilla House to allow plenty of opportunities for Kala and the other gorillas to see him, smell him and be near him, and ensure that he continues to be accepted as a familiar member of the gorilla family. 

At night the infant is being cared for by keepers in Zoo-owned accommodation onsite.

Now the youngster needs a name and the Zoo is inviting members of the public to help choose.

Keepers have drawn up a shortlist of names and the Zoo is running a naming poll on its Facebook page from today (Thursday October 22).

The names to vote on are:

  • Motuku - means ‘Chief of the Village’ in Bubi (local language in Equatorial Guinea)
  • Hasani – means ‘Handsome’ in Swahili
  • Luango – town/city on the coast of Equatorial Guinea
  • Kidosi - popular African name, particularly in Central Africa

To vote for your favourite name, visit facebook.com/BristolZooGardens/.

Lynsey Bugg, Mammals Curator at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “Hand-rearing any animal is not a decision we take lightly as our preference is always for an animal to be reared naturally by its own mother.

“Sadly this doesn’t always happen and in this instance we decided that it was in the baby gorilla’s best interests for us to hand rear him to ensure he had the best chance of survival.”

Lynsey said keepers would do their best to treat him like a gorilla mum would, expecting him to hold on tight and making gorilla vocalisations to make reintroduction into the group as easy for him as possible.

She added: “It’s really important for him that he remains a familiar member of the group, as well as being used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the gorillas.”

The rest of the gorilla troop are doing well and keepers are keeping a close eye on Kala who is adjusting well and is in good health. 

While the gorilla house is open as normal, the baby gorilla is not able to be seen by the public at this stage. 

Bristol Zoo has been caring for gorillas since 1930. The Zoo plays a significant role in the conservation breeding programme for western lowland gorillas as well as running a conservation programme in Equatorial Guinea in Africa.

Bristol Zoological Society also raises significant funds for gorilla conservation in the wild, supports a gorilla orphanage in Cameroon and has pioneered veterinary treatment for gorillas.

Bristol Zoological Society, which operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning four continents.

In March 2020 Bristol Zoological Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’.

The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol in the face of the Covd-19 pandemic. To find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation, visit bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.


Baby gorilla delivered via C-section at Franklin Park Zoo

 

On October 14, a multidisciplinary team of veterinarians and physicians successfully delivered a male gorilla baby via Cesarean section at the Franklin Park Zoo.

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In the days leading up to the delivery, Kiki, a 39-year-old western lowland gorilla, experienced vaginal bleeding, which at times was significant. With Kiki’s due date just days away, the veterinary team at Zoo New England became concerned that she may have placenta previa, a condition where the placenta lies over the entrance to the cervix, blocking the path for delivery of the baby.

At 4:00 p.m. on October 14, the Zoo New England veterinary team, along with specialists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, performed an ultrasound on Kiki and quickly confirmed that she did have placenta previa. The Animal Care and veterinary teams transported Kiki to the Zoo Hospital on grounds at Franklin Park Zoo and prepped her for surgery, which once underway went quickly and smoothly.

At 6:35 p.m., the 6 pound, 3 ounce gorilla infant was delivered. He’s a big baby, as gorilla infants typically weigh 3-5 pounds, and is the first male gorilla ever born at Franklin Park Zoo.

“For the health of mom and baby, it was imperative to quickly diagnose Kiki’s condition and perform a C-section before she went into labor on her own. We were fortunate to quickly mobilize an amazing team with our colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Vice President of Animal Health and Conservation. “This was truly a team effort, and we are relieved and happy that the surgery went smoothly and that mom and baby are both safe and healthy.”

Zoo New England’s veterinary and animal care teams were assisted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital obstetricians Dr. Julian Robinson, Dr. Thomas McElrath, Dr. Sara Rae Easter, Dr. James Greenberg, and RN Monique Williams, Brigham & Women’s Hospital neonatologists Dr. Linda Van Marter and Dr. Elizabeth Flanigan, and veterinary anesthesiologist Dr. Emily McCobb and veterinary anesthesia resident Dr. Emily Wheeler from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Following the delivery, Kiki recovered from surgery while the baby was cared for by Zoo staff where Kiki was close enough to see and hear the baby. The pair were successfully reunited the following afternoon on October 15, and Kiki has been very attentive, holding the baby close. Mother and baby have bonded well and continue to be closely monitored and cared for behind the scenes. For news on when they will make their exhibit debut, please check our website or follow us on social media.

Zoo New England is an active participant in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. Kiki’s pregnancy was the result of a recommended breeding by the SSP with her mate Kitombe, affectionately known as Kit. Kiki has previously given birth to four female gorillas – her youngest two reside at Franklin Park Zoo, while her oldest two reside at other AZA-accredited zoos per breeding recommendations.

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. Western gorillas, found in the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, and Central African Republic, are divided into the Cross River and western lowland subspecies. Both are considered critically endangered. Threats to gorillas vary geographically and western gorillas are primarily threatened by disease and the bushmeat trade.

Zoo New England has been a longtime supporter of gorilla conservation, devoting passion, expertise and resources to the preservation of this iconic species. Zoo New England is currently supporting a project to protect Cross-river gorillas in the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Nigeria. Here at home, Zoo New England participates in the Eco-Cell recycling program, an initiative which partners with zoos across the country to collect recycled cell phones and refurbish them for reuse. This reduces the need for coltan mining, which causes the destruction of endangered gorilla habitats.


Baby Gorilla Born at Bristol Zoo Gardens

 

A baby gorilla has been born, helping to secure the future of this critically endangered species.

The tiny western lowland gorilla arrived in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, August 19) in the Gorilla House at the Zoo.

Nine-year-old Kala gave birth naturally, overnight to the infant with dad, Jock, just a few metres away and the rest of the family troop nearby. Keepers arrived this morning to find the little gorilla nestling in its mother’s arms.

Lynsey Bugg, Curator of Mammals at Bristol Zoo, said: “We are all thrilled. There is something very special about seeing a new-born baby gorilla, they are such an iconic and charismatic species.”

She said both Kala, who came to Bristol Zoo from Germany in 2018, and her baby were doing very well.

Lynsey said: “She is being very attentive and taking good care of her baby. It’s very early days but we are cautiously optimistic. The early signs are good and the baby looks to be a good size and is strong.”

The new gorilla joins our troop of six gorillas, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.

One of Bristol Zoological Society’s flagship conservation projects focuses on western lowland gorillas in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea – an area highlighted by the IUCN as critically important for the conservation of this species.

For more than 20 years The Society has also supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.

Gorillas are hunted for their meat and their young are regularly taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.

Visitors should be able to see the new gorilla as they pass through the Gorilla House on our new one-way route.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project. It is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Wild Place and Bristol Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.

In March, the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’. To find out more, or to make a donation, visit the appeal page.

Visitors to Bristol Zoo are now asked to pre-purchase and members asked to pre-book tickets in advance, online, here.

 


Birth Adds Crucial New Member to Gorilla Population

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Lulu, a 19-year-old Western Lowland Gorilla at Zoo Atlanta, gave birth to an infant on July 24. The newborn is Lulu’s second surviving offspring and the eleventh for 30-year-old silverback, Taz.

“Every animal birth is important, and there is an added cause for celebration when the birth is a critically endangered species like the Western Lowland Gorilla,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Deputy Director. “We look forward to sharing the joy of watching another infant grow up in Taz’s family group in ‘The Ford African Rain Forest’, where our visitors can observe the maternal care, sibling interactions and family dynamics that make watching a troop of gorillas such a special experience.”

Every birth is crucial for Western Lowland Gorillas. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), over a 25-year period, the combined threats of poaching, illegal hunting for the bushmeat trade, habitat loss and emerging diseases such as Ebola have reduced their numbers by 60 percent in the wild, with declines of as much as 90 percent in some parts of their range in western Africa. Populations living within North American zoos are overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse gorilla population for future generations, and in which Zoo Atlanta is an active partner.

Western lowland gorilla Lulu with infant_Zoo AtlantaPhoto Credits: Zoo Atlanta

Lulu is the youngest of the five offspring of the late Willie B. Her newborn is the 24th gorilla born at Zoo Atlanta since the opening of The Ford African Rain Forest in 1988. In the more than 50 years since the arrival of the infant’s famous grandfather in 1961, the Zoo Atlanta gorilla program has evolved into a nationally recognized center of excellence in the care and study of gorillas.

Zoo Atlanta has been a significant conservation partner of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International for over 20 years, providing headquarters space, information technology and financial support for the organization. Over the years, the Zoo has also provided the Fossey Fund with board leadership and program support, as well as shared scientific team members.

Research by Zoo Atlanta team members has influenced industry-wide improvements in the care of gorillas in zoos, as well as enhanced the world’s understanding of gorillas, with more than 100 published papers on maternal care, reproduction, social behavior and cognition. Zoo Atlanta is the headquarters of the Great Ape Heart Project, the world’s first effort to understand, diagnose, and treat cardiac disease across all four great ape taxa: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos. The Zoo is a Platinum Supporter of the AZA Ape Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), a collective effort to preserve wild ape populations and to increase and sustain financial support from zoos for their conservation.

Zoo Atlanta houses one of the largest populations of gorillas in North America and is home to 19 individuals. The Zoo is also home to two of the world’s oldest gorillas: female Choomba, 56, and Ozzie, the world’s oldest living male gorilla at 58 – and as such has become a leader in the emerging field of geriatric gorilla care. Gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of 40.

Plan a visit or learn more about the gorillas of Zoo Atlanta at www.zooatlanta.org .


Lincoln Park Zoo Welcomes Second New Gorilla

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s Western Lowland Gorilla troop welcomed another new face on June 12 at Regenstein Center for African Apes! Bana, 24, gave birth to a healthy infant, exactly one month after the arrival of a male infant that was born to mom, Rollie, on May 12.

The baby is staying tucked in close and clinging to mom, Bana, and has begun nursing. The infant is the second offspring for Bana, who gave birth to a female, named Patty, in 2012. Kwan, 30, the silverback of the family group, continues to closely watch Bana and the infant.

“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival. Bana is an experienced mother who is displaying appropriate maternal skills and care,” said Curator of Primates, Jill Moyse.

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20190613_CB_bana_gorilla-48Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba /Lincoln Park Zoo

The unsexed newborn joins a troop of eight individuals, including adult females, Bahati and Rollie, three juvenile females (Bella, Nayembi, and Patty), and the recent male infant. Both gorilla infants have yet to be named.

“Having two offspring born close together provides such an exciting time for guests and gorillas alike,” said Moyse. “The infants will have the opportunity to grow, develop, and explore their surroundings together and learn from one another.”

Animal Care staff will closely monitor Bana and the infant as they continue to surpass critical milestones. Kwan and Bana were recommended to breed as a part of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative effort among zoos accredited by Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Western Lowland Gorillas are classified by the IUCN as “Critically Endangered”, in their native Central Africa, due to habitat loss and poaching. Scientists with Lincoln Park Zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes are dedicated to saving this species with ongoing work both at the zoo and in the Republic of the Congo. This work has facilitated new strategies to mitigate the impact of human and consumer behaviors such as unsustainable logging and urbanization.

For more information about Lincoln Park Zoo’s ape conservation efforts and Western Lowland Gorillas, visit www.lpzoo.org . Those interested in helping care for mom and baby all year long may ADOPT a gorilla at www.lpzoo.org/adopt .


Baby Gorilla Bonds with Surrogate Mom

Exploring her home

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has introduced Gondai, a Western Lowland Gorilla infant born on September 28, to a surrogate mother, 30-year old Bulera. While surrogacy was “Plan B” for the Gorilla care team, hoping instead that Gandai’s biological mother Kumbuka would be willing and able to care for the infant, the pairing with Gandai and Bulera is a joyful occasion and the two Gorillas are bonding well.

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Happy girlPhoto Credit: Jacksonville Zoo and Garden (1,3), Lynded Nunn (2), John Reed Photography (4,5,6)

Keepers at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens intervened after Gandai’s birth when Kumbuka was observed incorrectly positioning the infant. The team has provided around-the-clock care for five months with the goal of introducing her to the troop as soon as it would be safe to do so. Kumbuka and the rest of the Gorillas were in close contact with the infant throughout the assisted-rearing process to reinforce their bonds. Bulera showed strong interest in Gandai from the beginning.

On the morning of February 26, Gandai was placed on a soft pile of hay in a large family room in the Gorilla building. Kumbuka was given access to the room and allowed to have free contact with the infant. Keepers were cautiously optimistic when Kumbuka eventually approached the little one and showed some interest. Kumbuka was initially curious and was even observed holding the baby for a few minutes. Unfortunately, her interest waned and by the end of the day, Kumbuka was actively avoiding Gandai. She did not bring Gandai into her nest to sleep overnight. When keepers saw Kumbuka’s frustration rising the next morning with every approach from Gandai, they knew it was time to consider Plan B.

At 9am on February 27, Kumbuka was given the opportunity to leave Gandai’s room, which she did without hesitation. Bulera was immediately given access to the baby. Immediately the keepers could tell this was a better fit. She was holding the baby within minutes and comforting her with soft vocal rumbles. She carried her around the enclosure, cuddled with her, brought her into her nest to sleep and responded quickly to any cries. Even better, Gandai is smitten with her adoptive mother.

Bulera is an experienced mother who raised 22-year old Madini and George who recently turned four. She is a confident and relaxed mother with a calm demeanor. The fact that young George is fully weaned, precocious, and enjoys independence, and has a close relationship with his father and playmate Patty, facilitated Bulera being available as a surrogate for Gandai.

The situation is still fluid as keepers continue to monitor the two behind-the-scenes and around the clock. Decisions are being made on who to introduce to Bulera and Gandai in next steps when they indicate they are ready.

Kumbuka is contently spending time with silverback Lash. She is not showing any concern about the situation. Keepers are disappointed that Kumbuka was not interested in mothering Gandai, but glad that the two can continue to live in the same group and develop a relationship. They anticipate that she will ultimately play an aunt role to Gandai, like she has done with the other offspring in the group.

See more photos of the baby Gorilla below.

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