Lowland gorillas. Photo courtesy of Julie Larsen Maher.
Two infant western lowland gorillas are making their public debut at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo. This is the second pair of gorillas born at the Bronx Zoo in just over a year.
The zoo has a successful history breeding gorillas as part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. These are the 16th and 17th gorillas born at Congo Gorilla Forest; there have been 52 gorillas born at the Bronx Zoo since 1972.
Layla (16 years old) gave birth on January 17, and Kumi (also 16 years old) had her baby on January 19. Ernie (32 years old) is the father of both babies. The gender of the infants is not yet known and the times they are on exhibit will vary day-by-day depending on weather, temperature, and other environmental factors.
The Congo Gorilla Forest is now home to 19 gorillas – the largest group of gorillas in North America – living in two breeding troops along with a troop of young males. This habitat has raised more than $12 million for WCS’s conservation programs in Africa through admission fees.