Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Photo by Rick Stevens
Gorilla baby | Photo by Rick Stevens

Taronga Zoo today announced the welcome birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla. The adorable baby was born to mum Mbeli and father Kibali on Friday 1st September at 1.40pm. He will be named in coming weeks.

Primate Keeper Alison Smith said the team are delighted with the addition to the family at Taronga Zoo.

“Mbeli is a very relaxed and confident mother. Her mother was a fantastic role model for her so she has taken that on and is really attentive toward the baby. In turn, the baby is getting stronger every day,” said Ms Smith.

“Mbeli and baby are both doing very well and are bonding well. They are being closely watched by our Keepers and veterinary team as well as the baby’s inquisitive big brother, MJ who is almost two years old,” Ms Smith said.

“MJ was present during the birth and he will be excited to start playing with his brother when he gets a little bit older,” she said.

This birth brings the number of Taronga’s Western Lowland Gorillas to seven. The newborn is an extremely valuable addition to world breeding programs for gorillas, helping insure against rapidly declining numbers of gorillas in Africa. Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered, with the long-term survival of this species under serious threat due to habitat destruction and deforestation, poaching and disease outbreaks like Ebola.

Taronga Director and CEO Cameron Kerr said that individual Australians can take action to support gorillas.

“There are three things we can do to help protect Western Lowland Gorilla’s: recycle your mobile phone as some of the components can only be sourced from mining in Central Africa; buy sustainably sourced timbers when buying furniture; and if you are offered illegal wildlife or illegal wildlife parts, report it on our Wildlife Witness App,” Mr Kerr said.

Keen-eyed guests at Taronga Zoo can catch glimpses of the new arrival and his family throughout the day. The best viewing times are the Gorilla feeding sessions at 10.45am, 12.30am and 2.30pm.

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Photos and VNR available here. For media enquiries or more information, contact:

Sarah Lievore, 9978 4606, 0403 513 963, slievore@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Greg Mills, 9978 4752, 0436 469 576, gmills@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Claire Laffan, 9978 4607, claffan@zoo.nsw.gov.au

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