19/04/2021

Our newest gorilla is named after his mum and dad

Our newest gorilla has been named Juni - after his mum and dad.

He was given the name following a poll of zoo staff and volunteers who opted for the one which combined those of his parents, Jock and Touni.

Lynsey Bugg, Curator of Mammals, said: “This is a lovely way of recognising both his parents and their part in helping to safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.

“Every animal birth is important to us but gorillas are a firm favourite with many of our visitors and are an integral part of Bristol Zoo.”

Juni is Touni’s second baby, as she gave birth to Ayana, who still lives at the zoo, in April 2017.

Touni came to Bristol from La Vallee des Singes zoo in France in September 2015 to be a breeding partner to Jock who arrived at the zoo 12 years earlier.

It is possible that Juni will be the last gorilla to be born at Bristol Zoo Gardens before it closes in late 2022 ready for the move to Wild Place Project which will become the new Bristol Zoo in 2024.

Lynsey added: “Juni is doing very well. He’s alert and seems eager to progress. He’s often seen feeding so he’s had a great start to life.

“He’s just started trying to master walking. He’s wobbly but can stand and is just starting to try and take the odd step and gradually begin to walk. He is also beginning to try solid food.”

Lynsey said he would then start learning how to climb, which is one of the gorillas’ favourite things to do.

Young Juni is one of a troop of eight gorillas here at Bristol Zoo. All are part of an international breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas, a Critically Endangered species.

Gorillas have long been an important part of Bristol Zoo and, as well as breeding them, conservationists from Bristol Zoological Society work to help protect them and their habitat in the wild.

Bristol Zoological Society is involved in a western lowland gorilla conservation project in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea, an area regarded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically important for the survival of the species.

For more than 20 years Bristol Zoological Society also has supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.

Bristol Zoo Gardens, which re-opened on April 12, is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project.

Bristol Zoological Society 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 education  and community outreach programme.

In March last year the Society launched the BZS Appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’ following the temporary closure of both its sites in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As school groups can now be welcomed back donations from the appeal fund will support the Education Bursary Fund to ensure schools and youth groups in disadvantaged areas are able to benefit from visiting Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project.

Click here to find out more about the appeal or to make a donation.

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