Gorilla

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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


Two Baby Gorillas In One Month!

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It had been 23 years since a baby Gorilla was born at North Carolina Zoo when on August 4th, "Bomassa", a healthy male, was born to 12-year-old "Jamani". Weeks later, on August 31st, a second yet-to-be-named baby Gorilla was born to mother "Olympia".

The rare births are cause for celebration not only for N.C. Zoo but also for the entire Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP®), the group responsible for the long-term sustainability of the western lowland gorilla population in North American zoos. With these births, the Gorilla SSP moves closer to its target population size of 360 individuals in 52 zoos.

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Photo credit: Tom Gillespie / North Carolina Zoo

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Mothers Day Comes Early: Baby Gorilla Born at Port Lympne

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A critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla was born to mom Mumbe and dad Djala at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park during the early hours of February 26. This is the latest addition to the family group at the park. At this early stage it is too young for keepers to determine the sex.

Head Gorilla Keeper Phil Ridges said, "I am absolutely delighted to welcome this new arrival to our family group. Mumba and Djala are fantastic parents, very protective and caring and the little one is doing very well. Infants are vital to the survival of this critically endangered species and I always look forward to watching them grow and develop."

The Western Lowland Gorilla is critically endangered in the wild. Estimates range from 50,000 to 150,000 individuals remaining; however the true figure is very difficult to guage. It is estimated that if the number of western lowland gorilla continues to decline at the present rate the species may be extinct by 2020.

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Photo Credit: Photo 1:Phil Houghton Photo 2: Dave Rolfe

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Meet Little Douli, The Netherlands' Newest Baby Gorilla!

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On Monday, February 27th, after an 8.5 month gestation period, Artis Zoo Gorilla Dafina gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Artis, The Netherlands' oldest zoo, is already home to 10 gorillas, two of which were born last year. There are plenty of experienced moms for Dafina to learn from, although she appears to be having no trouble playing the part. From birth, gorilla mothers typically hold their young tightly to their belly buttons, making it difficult for keepers to determine their sex, often for weeks. By a stroke of luck, Dafina lifted the young baby in the presence of keepers late yesterday, giving them a clear view that the tiny baby is in fact a boy. He's been given the name Douli, after a place in the Gabon state of Africa.

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Photo credits: Artis Zoo


NEW Photos: Welcome to the World Gorilla Baby!

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The Pittsburgh Zoo welcomed a new baby gorilla on the morning of February 9. Since giving birth, Mom Moka is often found sitting near the indoor viewing window in the gorilla area holding the baby, offering visitors a fantastic view of their bonding time, as captured in the video below. 

“Moka is a first time mom so we were anxious to see how she would handle motherhood, but she is doing a great job,” says Karen Vacco, assistant curator of mammals. “The baby is nursing and Moka holds him tightly against her chest.” Moka was raised by her mother and has a younger sister, so she learned maternal behavior from her mother.

First time dad Mrithi visited the baby after its birth and has been staying close to Moka, but not interfering. “The rest of the gorilla troop has been curious but respectful,” says Roseann Giambro, gorilla keeper. “They will take their cues from mom who will let them know when she is comfortable with them being close to her baby.”

Western lowland gorillas are endangered. In 2007, scientists had estimated their populations to be just about 100,000 in the wild, but an outbreak of Ebola destroyed much of the population dropping their numbers close to 30,000. 

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Photo Credit: Sage RossCreative Commons License

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Baby Gorilla Nurtured Back to Health

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Okanda, the six-month-old baby gorilla at Twycross Zoo in baby gorilla has been extremely poorly and their vet Sarah has been living with him around the clock as she helps nurse him back to health. We discovered a problem with his mothers milk which meant the young primate was not getting the nutrients he needed. They had to sedate his mother, Ozala, while keepers hurried the infant to the on-site vet.

Sarah is now living with Okanda at an undisclosed location; She is only communicating with the infant through grunts, mimicking the sounds and actions of a primate so not to expose him to human influence.

Vet and director of life sciences at the zoo Sharon Redrobe said: "We're very pleased with his progress but we thought we were going to lose him. It's been very touch and go. He was so thin and he doesn't want to be left alone because after all he's still only a baby. Sarah isn't holding him like a human baby, or talking to him, just grunting and grooming him like his mother would do."

Okanda was put on a drip and had a feeding tube placed in his stomach as he was not strong enough to feed from a bottle. He was then fed powdered baby milk every three hours while his condition was continuously assessed. For the past few days, staff have been weaning the youngster off milk and on to solid foods, such as bananas and food pellets.

Sharon said: "He was really quiet until yesterday, but now he's starting to play and make gorilla noises. He's started biting Sarah, which is a good sign for him, but not so good for Sarah."

‘We hope he will be back with his mum in about eight weeks. Gorillas are intelligent animals and it's clear she misses him. We were worried that she would go off her food and we'd have to care for her too, but luckily we've not had any serious problems."

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Photo Credit: Twycross Zoo

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