We have nine Western Lowland Gorillas at Taronga Zoo. In every gorilla society there is a dominant male called the silverback and our silverback is the very impressive Kibabu who weighs over 200 kg. Also in his family are his three females, Moulia, Kriba and Frala, and then we have our juveniles Mbeli, Fataki and Kimya not to mention our two newest family members Fuzu and Mahale, (both very cute and both very different in personality). Over the coming weeks I will try and update you on our family group and what they have been up to.
But first I must tell you about 2009 being the “Year of the Gorilla” and what you can do to help this species survive in the wild. The great apes, both Gorillas and Chimpanzees from Africa and their cousins the Orang-utan from Asia, are facing extinction in the near future. There are a lot of threats facing these wonderful creatures from Habitat loss, hunting for Bushmeat, poaching for the pet trade, human diseases and more recently the illegal mining of Coltan. 80% of the world’s coltan is now mined in Africa, much of it illegally, and the majority is found right in Gorilla country.
Many international groups have joined forces to declare 2009 the Year of the Gorilla to focus on saving gorilla populations in the wild and their habitats. We are striving to make a difference in the conservation of all gorillas and those at Taronga Zoo are great ambassadors for their species.
So in the meantime, come out and see us at the zoo and find out more on what you can do in the Year of the Gorilla, also jump onto the website www.yog2009.org and help make a difference.