Two Very Different Babies Emerge At Woodland Park Zoo
May 01, 2021
Visitors to Woodland Park Zoo are oohing and aahing as they catch their first sightings of baby girl gorilla, Zuna (zoo-nah). The 11 week old is now with her mom and family in the public outdoor habitat on a limited schedule: 12:30-3:30 p.m. daily (weather dependent).
Zuna, which means “sweet” in the African language, Lingala (lin-gah-lah), is the second baby for 25-year-old mom Nadiri (naw-DEER-ee) and the first between her and the dad, 21-year-old Kwame (KWA-may).
“We continue to bottle feed Zuna for her nourishment while mom Nadiri provides maternal care. She’s doing an excellent job. Once Zuna’s feedings are reduced, we’ll be able to extend her time outdoors,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.
The baby gorilla is becoming more active and steadily becoming stronger and more observant. “Zuna’s watching the other gorillas in her family with growing curiosity. Kitoko, our 1-year-old boy, is especially interested in her,” said Ramirez. “Once Zuna becomes more mobile, our zoo visitors are going to be in for a real treat watching these youngsters romp and play. As symbols of hope for their cousins in the wild, our gorillas can inspire our community to care about and take action on behalf of these gentle giants and other wildlife.”
The other members of Zuna’s family are: Nadiri’s 5-year-old daughter, Yola, Akenji and Uzumma, the mom of Kitoko.
Stay tuned to updates and milestones by visiting zoo.org/growingupgorilla and following the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #GrowingUpGorilla.
Every visit to Woodland Park Zoo supports conservation of animals in the wild. Join the zoo by recycling old cell phones and other used handheld electronics through ECO-CELL to help preserve gorilla habitat. Funds generated from ECO-CELL support the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
ZooParent adoptions are the perfect way to pay tribute to Zuna. ZooParent adoptions help Woodland Park Zoo provide exceptional care for all of its amazing animals and support wildlife conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.
Baby Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo
Woodland Park Zoo is jumping for joey over its 8-month-old Matschie’s tree kangaroo! The male joey (a baby marsupial), born last August to mom Omari and dad Rocket, is just beginning to venture outside the safety of his mom’s pouch. To the surprise of no one, he’s positively precious.
The 2-pound joey is named Havam (hay-vam) which is the word for “tree kangaroo” in one of the many languages of the YUS Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea, home to wild but endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroos. YUS is home to Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, whose amazing work for the people and wildlife of Papua New Guinea would not be possible without support from donors and organizations like the Shared Earth Foundation, which ensures that all creatures have an enduring claim to sustainable space on this planet.
This joey’s journey may surprise you: Tree kangaroos are born hairless, blind and only the size of a jelly bean. In order to survive, the joey must quickly crawl from the birth canal, through its mother’s fur and into her pouch to immediately start nursing. At first, Havam did get a little bit too eager to make his debut, explains animal keeper Beth Carlyle-Askew.
“Havam exited Omari’s pouch a little early — we actually had to put him back in to finish growing for a few more months. Luckily an animal keeper saw him outside the pouch and knew exactly what to do. She kept him warm by putting him in her shirt, then put him in a fabric pouch with a heated pad until he could be returned to Omari’s pouch,” said Carlyle-Askew.
As each day passes, little Havam is familiarizing himself with the world around him. He makes short trips out of the pouch to explore his new home, but he still prefers the warmth and safety of Omari’s pouch. When he’s not nursing, Havam is starting to try solid foods, sampling all of his mom’s food to figure out what he likes best. He’s even been learning to climb up and around his enclosure! At 14 months old, Havam will wean from nursing and eventually become fully independent.
Havam is the third joey for dad Rocket, who fathered Havam’s half-siblings Ecki and Keweng, born to the zoo’s other female tree kangaroo Elanna in 2018 and 2020, respectively. This is the fourth joey for Omari, who had three other joeys at Santa Fe Teaching Zoo before coming to live at Woodland Park Zoo. All of the zoo’s tree kangaroos are currently living in a habitat that is off view to the public.
Woodland Park Zoo is home to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program that is working to protect the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo and help maintain the unique biodiversity of its native Papua New Guinea in balance with the culture and needs of the people who live there. Consider supporting the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program here: www.zoo.org/tkcp/donate.