Baby Gorilla Gets a Name at Oklahoma City Zoo


A male Western Lowland Gorilla born at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Valentine’s Day was given a name on his one-month birthday:  the baby will be called Leom, which combines the last two letters of his mother’s name, Kelele, and his father’s name, Bom Bom.

Leom is the first birth for 19-year-old Kelele, who has ben providing excellent care to her newborn. Female Gorillas carry their infants 24 hours a day, never putting them down.  Leom’s father, Bom Bom, was a beloved 36-year-old silverback who died in July 2012 of cardiac arrest.




Photo Credits:  Andrea Wright (1,3,4,5); Gillian Lang (2)

The zoo’s three young male Gorillas, who have never seen a baby Gorilla before, are very curious about Leom.  Kelele, always protective of her baby, keeps her distance from them for now. 

With Leom’s birth, the Oklahoma City Zoo continues its involvement in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). One of the SSP's most important roles is to ensure that the Gorilla population remains healthy, genetically-diverse, and self-sustaining.

Update! Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Gets Fuzzy Surrogates

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Recently we reported HERE on a little baby Gorilla who made a journey across the country from Texas to the Cincinnati Zoo to be hand reared after her birth mother wasn't able to provide her with proper care. We are happy to report that the little girl, who has since been named Gladys in honor of the zoo at which she was born, is doing well and has taken quite fondly to her surrogates. With a little help from some special attire that is. 

Keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo had faux fur company, Fabulous Furs, manufacture an artificial gorilla vest for surrogates to wear when taking care of little Gladys. The local company graciously provided the vests free of charge. “Helping animals is at the heart of everything we do at Fabulous-Furs and we’re long-time supporters of the Cincinnati Zoo’s animal conservation efforts,” said Donna Salyers, President of Fabulous Furs. “Fabulous Furs is known for the world’s finest faux furs and believing one of our fabrics might help make baby Gladys’ life easier made helping an easy decision. Now, as we share Gladys’ story with our kids and grandkids, their enthusiasm makes it even more meaningful. We’re absolutely thrilled to contribute.”

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Photo credits: David Jenike / Cincinnati Zoo


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Baby Gorilla Leaves Texas for New Home in Cincinnati


A four-week-old female Gorilla born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, made a cross-country trip on a private plane to her new home at the Cincinnati Zoo last week.

Cincinnati Zoo Primate Team Leader Ron Evans and Nursery Head Keeper Dawn Strasser accompanied the baby on the private flight.  “The baby was great,” said Strasser.  “She never left my arms.”



Photo Credits:  Gladys Porter Zoo & Cinncinati Zoo


The baby, who is still unnamed, was born on January 29 to 14-year old female Kiazi and 28-year-old silverback male Moja.  Because Kiazi was not providing appropriate maternal care, the baby was being hand-reared by keepers at the Gladys Porter Zoo. All parties agreed that relocation was the best course of action for the baby and because the Cincinnati Zoo has two female Gorillas available to serve as potential surrogate mothers, it was decided that the baby should go there. Her introduction process to a new Gorilla troop will be gradual to ensure a favorable integration.

The baby will spend time behind the scenes for the next few days as she is evaluated by zoo veterinarians. She will then move to her more permanent home at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Baby Gorilla Smiles for the Camera at Twycross Zoo


A baby Western Lowland Gorilla born at the United Kingdom’s Twycross Zoo on January 3 adds a third generation to their already close-knit Gorilla group.


Ozala and Baby - Credit Twycross Zoo
Photo credits: Gillian Day taken at Twycross Zoo


Ozala was born at Twycross Zoo in 1994. The newborn joins a family unit made up of father Oumbi and grandmother, Biddi. Ozala's half-sister Asante will also provide a helping hand as the young Gorilla grows up.

Charlotte added: "The baby will be carried around by mum for the next couple of years but will, of course, gradually become more independent, just going back to Ozala for reassurance and comfort.”

Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, fewer than 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas remain in the wild, bringing the species dangerously close to extinction. Hunting, habitat loss and the Ebola virus have contributed to the species’ decline.

Zoological Director Sharon Redrobe added: "Because the Western Lowland Gorilla is such an endangered species every Gorilla birth is important, and this infant represents another vital contribution to the European Endangered Species breeding programme and to the conservation of this species.”

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Baby Gorilla's Arrival Celebrated at Prague Zoo

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The Prague Zoo received a very special Christmas present this year:  Western Lowland Gorilla Kijivu delivered a healthy baby boy on December 22, just a few months after another of her offspring died in a freak accident.

The baby’s delivery went smoothly with no problems, according to Prague Zoo staff.  Kijivu is an experienced mother, and this is her fourth baby with the zoo’s male Gorilla, Richard. 

In July, Kijivu’s second offspring, 5-year-old male Tatu, accidentally hanged himself with a climbing rope in the Gorilla enclosure.  This devastating event was called one of the worst tragedies in Prague Zoo’s history, and makes the new infant’s arrival even more significant for the zoo staff and the captive Gorilla population. 

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Western Lowland Gorillas are the most widespread of all Gorilla subspecies, inhabiting the dense rain forests of western and central Africa.  In some parts of their range, the population is decreasing by 5% each year as Gorillas are captured as pets or killed for bushmeat.  As timber and mining companies encroach on the area, valuable Gorilla habitat is destroyed.  The deadly Ebola virus is estimated to have killed up to one-third of wild Gorillas. 

Photo credit  Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo

World's Oldest Gorilla Celebrates Birthday at Columbus Zoo

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Meet Colo, the world’s oldest known Gorilla. Born December 22, 1956 at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Colo was the first of her kind ever born at a zoo. In fact, it would be another five years until a second Lowland Gorilla was born at a zoo and a further five years for a third.

For Colo’s 56th birthday this weekend, the Columbus Zoo presented her with a specially prepared cake and presents that included her favorite food... tomatoes!  Guests joined in on the fun by singing happy birthday to her, along with the staff.

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Now, at 56 years old, Colo has also broken the longevity record previously held by Jenny at the Dallas Zoo, who died at age 55 in 2008. And, in 1983, her grandsons were the first twin Gorillas born in the western hemisphere.


All in all, Colo is the mother of three, grandmother of 16, great grandmother of seven and great great grandmother of two! Colo had three babies, Emmy, Oscar and Toni. Emmy was the first second-generation Gorilla born in a zoo and Toni gave birth to Cora, who was the first third-generation Gorilla born in a zoo. 

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Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

There are currently 15 endangered Lowland Gorillas at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium including Colo, her daughter Toni, grandson Mac, granddaughter Cassie and great-granddaughter Dotty.

Sadly, life for Western Lowland Gorillas in the wild is much different than Colo’s. Habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal bushmeat trade are constant threats for this critically endangered species. The Columbus Zoo helps protect Western Lowland Gorillas in the wild, supporting conservation efforts and distributing more than $1 million annually in conservation grants worldwide.

Two Baby Gorillas in Two Weeks for Tel Aviv Zoo

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There's baby boom going on in the Primate Department at The Zoological Center Tel-Aviv Ramat-Gan, as two Western Lowland Gorlilas were born in the last two weeks. 

The zoo was delighted in the birth of a baby Gorilla by mom Anya, 25 years old. Much to the delight of all, in less than 2 weeks, 34-year-old Lia added to the troop with a baby of her own. Anya's little one has been named Amelia, after Zoo Tel Aviv's curator Dr. Amelia Terkel, who is retiring at the end of the year after 30 years of dedication.

Both babies are thriving. In these early days of life, they cling to their mother's chest and belly, gradually moving to riding on her back. Soon after, these two will advance to exploring their habitat. The best part is that they will each have a play-pal in each other! 

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Photo Credit: Tibor Jager

The Zoological Center Tel-Aviv Ramat-Gan, tried introducing three different males into the group before they started breeding. It wasn't until Lucas, their silverback, arrived from the Netherlands 15 years ago that things started to change for the better. A total of ten Gorilla babies have been born to date at the Tel-Aviv Zoo, which makes them one of the leading zoos in Gorilla breeding, proudly contributing to Gorilla preservation through the European Endangered Species Programme.

Baby Gorilla is showered with gifts at Little Rock Zoo


Adelina, a baby Western Lowland Gorilla born on August 19, has her own Facebook page and devoted fans who gave her a baby shower when she was just a few weeks old.  Why all the fuss?  Adelina is only the second baby Gorilla ever born at the Little Rock Zoo.






Sekani, Adelina’s 21-year-old mother, is demonstrating excellent care for her baby, according to the zoo staff.  The father, 26-year-old Fossey, was recommended to breed with Sekani by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) a breeding and conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which accredits North American zoos.

Sekani was registered for her baby shower at a local retailer.  Soft receiving blankets topped her list, along with safe and colorful infant toys.  In the photos, you can see Sekani studying the cards she received at the shower.  Like most youngsters, Adelina appeared to enjoy the wrapping paper more than the gifts themselves. 

At 11 weeks old, Adelina is growing normally and appears strong, alert, and healthy.   Fans can watch Adelina' progress via weekly updates posted on her Facebook page.

Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered in their native central African home, due to illegal hunting and the destruction of their habitat.

Photo Credits:  Little Rock Zoo

All eyes are on newborn Gorilla at Lincoln Park Zoo

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On October 11, a healthy baby Western Lowland Gorilla was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo – an important addition to this critically endangered species.

The baby has yet to be sexed or named and appears to be doing well. Mother Bana, 17, is showing appropriate maternal instincts, while dad Kwan, a 23-year-old silverback, is watchful over the mom and baby pair.

Photos credited to Tony GnauLincoln Park Zoo1

Photos credited to Tony GnauLincoln Park Zoo

“We are cautiously optimistic about the new arrival. So far, Bana and the baby are showing all the signs of a happy, healthy mom-and-baby pair,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy.

The new baby joins a troop of six individuals, all of whom are curious about the new arrival but maintaining a respectful distance as Bana and her offspring bond. According to animal care staff, the new mom is already establishing routines.

“Bana has been nesting in a quiet corner of the enclosure where she can nurture her infant,” said Leahy. “The baby is nursing regularly and demonstrating positive behaviors like reaching and gripping tightly.”

Zookeepers and vets will closely monitor Bana and her baby to ensure they continue to do well, as the first few weeks are critical in the survival of newborn Gorillas.

This Gorilla birth is the 51st in Lincoln Park Zoo’s proud history working with the species. It came about thanks to a recommendation from the Gorilla Species Survival Plan®, a shared management effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

It provides a welcome boost for a species that’s critically endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. In addition to work at the zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo also conserves Gorillas in the wild through the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project.

Photo Credits:  Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo (top), Tony Gnau/Lincoln Park Zoo

Safe in her Mother's Arms: Baby Gorilla Born at Durell

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On September 27, as new mother Hlala Kahlili cradled her newborn infant, the U.K.'s Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust celebrated the arrival of their first Western Lowland Gorilla in nine years. Western Lowland Gorillas are one of the world's most critically endangered primates, so this birth is significant for the species' breeding program.

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The baby, whose gender is not yet known, is the first offspring of Badongo, a dominant silverback Gorilla who arrived at the park last year.  Hlali Kahlili is an experienced mother, and this is her fourth baby.

Mark Brayshaw, Head of Animal Collection at Durrell said, “We are delighted with the great news and so far the mother and baby are doing well, but as with all births we need to be extra cautious during the first few days. At the moment the group including the new parents are all very relaxed and our keepers are remaining as hands off as possible as the group appears quite settled.”

Western Lowland Gorillas are native to the forests of equatorial Africa.  They live in extended family groups, traversing the forest in search of fruit, leaves, and seeds. 

Photo Credits:  Will Bertram