Today is World Gorilla Day (it’s September 24) and this is the perfect time for an update on the youngest member of Woodland Park Zoo’s western lowland gorilla family—Zuna!
Little Zuna is nearly 8 months old right now and is doing great! She weighs around 11 ½ pounds now, which is double her birth weight. Zuna continues to become more and more active and while mama Nadiri tends to keep her close, she is on the move whenever she gets the chance. Sometimes, when Nadiri is trying to get some rest (because being a gorilla mama is a 24/7 job!) Zuna uses that time to venture out a bit—climbing or toddling around. She still takes bottles from the gorilla keepers a few times a day but is trying lots of solid foods now too, including cucumber, yams, carrots and a special fortified biscuit. She also loves to forage for any fruit rinds and extra tidbits of food that Nadiri drops as she eats her meals.
Right now, Zuna primarily interacts with her mom (again, mostly because Nadiri doesn’t let her wander too far away before pulling her back or scooping her close) but she has contact now with all members of her extended family. Her most frequent interactions are with half-sister Yola (Nadiri is her mother, too) and dad Kwame. It’s no coincidence Nadiri happens to have a lot of trust in both of them to be gentle with Zuna, considering her age.
Play between Zuna and Yola often consists of gentle grappling and mouthing of faces and arms. Zuna has also found much amusement in climbing on top of Yola when Yola is lying down. As for Kwame—he continues to show that he is a gentle, attentive and patient parent. Zuna will reach out for her dad, or will toddle over to him. So far, Kwame just gently humors Zuna’s “visits” with little touches or sniffs. Occasionally he even scoops her closer to him, which was how he initially engaged with a younger Kitoko, too—but as she gets older and more independent, the gorilla keepers say we’ll probably see him play a little more with Zuna like he does now with Kitoko.