Calgary, AB – The Calgary Zoo is delighted to announce the arrival of a western lowland baby gorilla. The newest member of the gorilla troop arrived Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at approximately 9:30 p.m. First time mom, 15-year-old Kioja and her baby have been seen bonding and nursing; demonstrating positive mothering behaviours.
“With approximately 350 western lowland gorillas in the North American captive population, every gorilla counts,” says Dr. Malu Celli, Curator, Calgary Zoo. “Wild populations are decreasing at incredible rates, with more than 80 per cent lost in just three generations, so we need to protect every one of these critically endangered animals.”
This is the first gorilla born at the Calgary Zoo since 2008 when the youngest female, Yewande, joined the troop which now consists of 18-year-old Zuri, 15-year-old Dossi and male silverback Kakinga, 37. All of the gorillas at the zoo are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) which maintains genetic diversity in captive populations through breeding recommendations and careful management of the animals.
“Our team has been working very hard towards the arrival of this new baby,” states Dr. Celli. “With fewer than 55 breeding recommendations granted for the captive population, this is a very important addition to our troop as much effort goes into planning for a gorilla pregnancy.”
To further help in the conservation of gorillas, the Calgary Zoo is proud to collect cell phones to recycle. In each cell phone is a mineral known as coltan, which is mined in areas where gorillas live. By keeping phones of out landfills, habitat is preserved. Habitat loss is one of the threats gorillas face globally along with high levels of hunting and disease. It is estimated that there are fewer than 100,000 gorillas left in the wild.
The TransAlta Rainforest building will remain closed as the troop adjusts to its newest member. Watch for updates on the Zoo website for when the building will reopen.