16/09/2020

Baby gorilla thriving here at Bristol Zoo Gardens

​Our newest addition is thriving at four weeks old.

The baby gorilla was born to nine-year-old Kala last month, helping to secure the future of this Critically Endangered species.

The baby is very alert and looking around, but still sleeps a lot in its mother’s arms. Keepers regularly see the baby feeding and it is growing well.

We hope to be able to announce the gender of the baby in the coming weeks, after which time the infant will be named.   

Lynsey Bugg, Curator of Mammals, said: “Kala continues to be a great mother. She is getting more confident carrying her baby around and has started carrying it on her back or on her arm, making it easier for her to move around the gorilla house and outside on their island.

“The baby is definitely looking very strong and healthy and is getting hairier and more alert. Kala continues to hold the baby very close which makes confirming its sex more difficult, but we hope we’ll be able to announce the sex of the little one very soon.”

The baby is a great boost for the conservation breeding programme for gorillas as the species has been listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Lynsey added: “The baby’s half-siblings, Afia and Ayana, continue to show great interest in the newest addition to the family troop, which is great news – we are sure the youngster will be a great playmate for them before too long. It’s also a great learning experience for them, showing them the skills they’ll need when they become mums themselves.”

Kala arrived at Bristol Zoo from Germany in 2018. Sadly, her first baby died shortly after being born last year.

The new baby joins a troop of six gorillas here at the Zoo, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.

One of Bristol Zoological Society’s flagship conservation projects focuses on western lowland gorillas in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea – an area highlighted by the IUCN as critically important for the conservation of this species.

For more than 20 years we have also supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.

Gorillas are hunted for their meat and their young are regularly taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.

Visitors should be able to see the new gorilla as they pass through the Gorilla House on our one-way route.   

Bristol Zoo Gardens is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project. It is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo and Wild Place, but also its vital conservation and research projects across five continents.

In March we launched an appeal to ensure the future of our work ‘saving wildlife together’. We launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both our sites in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Click here to find out more, or to make a donation.

All tickets must be pre-purchased online in advance.

Photograph by Katie Horrocks.

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