Surrey, Tuesday April 26: The primate zookeepers at Chessington World of Adventures are delighted to announce the arrival of a baby Western lowland gorilla. The currently unnamed new arrival was born in the early hours of Sunday April 24, and is being closely monitored by the team whilst they stay close to their mother and slowly get introduced to the rest of the troop behind closed doors.
Born to mother, Shanga, and father, Damisi, the baby primate will be joining the current eight strong troop of Western lowland gorillas at Chessington’s Zoo. In a series of moving images, the three-day old baby can be seen clinging onto their mother, Shanga, as they get used to their new surroundings. As typical within the species, over the coming weeks the baby will be passed around between different members of the troop, with this behaviour allowing each gorilla to examine and familiarise themselves with the new baby. Looking ahead, they will ride on their mother’s back from the age of four months through the first two or three years of their lives.
Adam Douglass, Primate Zookeeper at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, commented: “It’s hugely exciting for the entire Zoo team as we welcome our newest arrival to Chessington. As this is early days and a sensitive time for the mother and baby to bond, we’re monitoring their well-being and development extremely closely, with both currently doing well. We’re still waiting to find out the sex of the little one, and over the coming days we’re looking forward to introducing our guests to the newest arrival of this incredible and critically endangered species.”
The Western lowland gorilla is found in several countries across Central Africa, with the subspecies currently listed as ‘critically endangered’ by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There is a number of threats to its population in the wild, these include the loss of habitat through modification and agriculture and being illegally hunted by humans for bushmeat.
In 2011, Chessington World of Adventures launched the Chessington Conservation Fund (CCF) to raise money to help protect the future of nature and wildlife through conservation work and education in their zoo, in the local community and worldwide. Since the Fund was formed it has supported many charitable organisations, including the Limbe Wildlife Centre which rehabilitates rescued Western Lowland gorillas in Cameroon.