WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA BORN AT THE OKC ZOO - 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 18, 2014
CONTACTS: Candice Rennels: (405) 425-0298, office; (405) 412-6172, cell; or [email protected]
Carrie Allen: (405) 425-0292, office or [email protected]
WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA BORN AT THE OKC ZOO
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has a new arrival–a female Western lowland gorilla. The baby gorilla was born in the early hours of Saturday, August 16, 2014, inside a Great EscApe day room to mother Ndjole (pronounced In-jōlee) and father Togo (pronounced Toe-go).
Weighing a little more than four pounds at birth, the baby gorilla appears healthy and strong. However, Ndjole has not demonstrated any signs of maternal care toward her baby since giving birth, and the Zoo’s veterinarian team and gorilla keepers have made the decision to hand rear the infant.
“Ndjole was given several opportunities to bond with her baby within the first 24 hours and didn’t show any interest in her, putting the newborn’s life at risk,” said OKC Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino.
Zoo caregivers will provide around-the-clock care for the infant gorilla in an off-exhibit area in Great EscApe to keep the baby in close proximity to other gorillas. It is the Zoo’s goal to explore every option to reunite the infant with other gorillas as soon as possible. The Zoo’s veterinarian team and gorilla keepers will work with the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to determine when the baby will be returned to a gorilla group or placed with a surrogate mother.
This is the second baby born to Ndjole, an 18-year-old Western lowland gorilla, who came to the Zoo in 2010 from the San Diego Zoo. Her first baby, a male, is a member of the Zoo’s bachelor gorilla troop in Great EscApe.
First-time father Togo, a 25-year-old silverback Western lowland gorilla, arrived at the Zoo in 2012 from the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as part of a breeding recommendation made by the Gorilla SSP. Togo’s troop includes females Emily, Mikella and Ndjole.
With this recent addition, the Zoo continues its involvement in the Gorilla SSP. One of the SSP's most important roles is to manage gorillas as a population to ensure that the population remains healthy, genetically-diverse and self-sustaining. Native to the lowland forests of Central and Western Africa, Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. Commercial hunting for meat, habitat loss and disease are contributing factors to their status in the wild.
The Zoo is a proud member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily. The Zoo is open until 8 p.m. on Saturdays through August 30 with buildings closing at 7:45 p.m. Guests must exit grounds at closing time. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Become a Zoo fan at www.facebook.com/okczoobg or follow us on Twitter @okczoo. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.com.
Media Note: Photo and video access will not be allowed at this time. Photos will be provided by the Zoo.