Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is excited to announce the birth of a Western Lowland Gorilla. The infant was born to first-time mom, Kazi, and dad, Cenzoo, on June 4.
“This is an exciting time for Riverbanks, our members and guests, and the community,” said John Davis, Director of Animal Care and Welfare at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “Kazi has been a great mother throughout her pregnancy, and we anticipate that she will continue to provide the best care for her infant.”
With only an estimated 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas remaining in the wild, the birth is a significant addition to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan® (SSP). For nearly 40 years, SSPs have ensured the continued existence of endangered animals through breeding and transfer plans among AZA-accredited facilities.
Twenty-two-year-old silverback, Cenzoo, 12-year-old Kazi, and two other female gorillas arrived at Riverbanks in August of 2015 to form the Zoo’s family troop. Davis adds that the unit is extremely cohesive, and all are adapting nicely to the new member of their group.
“The infant began nursing shortly after delivery and appears to be bonding well with mom”, Davis said. “The first 72-hours post-partum is the most critical. Animal care staff will continue to closely monitor Kazi and her infant and the entire family troop.”
The Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) is one of two subspecies of the Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) that lives in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
They are currently classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN. Major threats include: deforestation, farming, grazing expanding human settlements, and bush meat hunting.