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Kibali and Kimya together on exhibit
Credit: Lisa Ridley

After a long trip, new keepers, new language and a new home, Kibali has finally settled in, but there is a new girl knocking at his door.....

Kibali is an adolescent black back gorilla, and has lots to learn about running a gorilla family group. He will eventually become the new silverback male for Taronga's breeding group, and will be able to breed with the other females, helping to expand the group's genetic diversity.  But for now he has only one challenge, meeting his new girlfriend "Kimya".

In March of this year Kimya our seven year old female was introduced to Kibali.  Although the keepers are playing match makers, it is normal for young female gorillas to leave their natal group in search of a silver back or a young black back coming of age so that they can establish their own family group. It was trying times for both keepers and gorillas as there have been many changes, not only to the established family group but also to the gorilla house itself, and for the keepers.

Kibali who is 11 years old was specially selected for his genes and his calm personality and he has been true to his colours and a perfect gentleman with the introduction to his new female Kimya.  Kimya whose name means "quiet one" in Swahili didn't come quietly at all and she certainly was full of confidence and very head strong giving Kibali a run for his money when they first met, chasing him outside and throwing straw at him. 

It was a rocky road to find happiness but after a couple of weeks we are seeing positive signs from both gorillas, with them being more relaxed in each other's company. So in the coming weeks we hope to see alot more interaction from them both, with Kibali exerting more of that French charm.

Primate Keeper, Lisa