A critically-endangered western lowland gorilla born on Mother’s Day at the Lincoln Park Zoo has no name yet, but his mother, 22-year-old Rollie, has been taking good care of him, zoo staff said.
“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival. Rollie is an experienced mother who is displaying appropriate maternal skills and care,” said Jill Moyse, a curator of primates at the zoo.
The unnamed infant is the second offspring for Rollie, who gave birth to female Nayembi in 2012. Kwan, 30, the silverback of the family group, continues to closely watch Rollie and the infant, the zoo said.
The newborn joins a troop of seven individuals, including adult females Bana and Bahati, and three juvenile females Bella, Nayembi, and Patty.
“It’s really amazing to see this family group grow and adapt,” said Moyse. “Lincoln Park Zoo’s last gorilla birth was in 2015 when the troop welcomed newborn Bella. It’s an exciting time to visit Regenstein Center for African Apes where you can see different life stages of the gorillas from newborn infant to full-grown silverback.” Animal Care staff continue to closely monitor Rollie and the infant as he continues to surpass critical milestones, the zoo said. Kwan and Rollie were recommended to breed as a part of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort among zoos accredited by Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Regenstein Center for African Apes will remain closed intermittently as the gorilla group continues to acclimate to the new arrival. Lincoln Park Zoo Members can attend exclusive members-only sneak peeks May 15 to 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. If you’re not a member, visit lpzoo.org/membership to join. The ape building is slated to return to regular hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) for the public May 18. In the meantime, the gorillas may be spotted in their outdoor habitat.
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in their native Central Africa due to habitat loss and poaching. Scientists with Lincoln Park Zoo’s Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes are dedicated to saving this species with ongoing work both at the zoo and in the Republic of the Congo. This work has facilitated new strategies to mitigate the impact of human and consumer behaviors such as unsustainable logging and urbanization.
For more information about Lincoln Park Zoo’s ape conservation efforts and western lowland gorillas, visit lpzoo.org. Those interested in helping care for mom and baby all year long may ADOPT a gorilla at lpzoo.org/adopt.