News Release

September 24, 2015

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 
                  Contact : Nina Martines
                                  Public Communications Inc.
                                  312.558.1770
                                  nmartines@pcipr.com
 

Note: Images of Kamba and her offspring may be downloaded below:
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Gorilla Born at Brookfield Zoo
 
     Brookfield, Ill.—The Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of a western lowland gorilla to 11-year-old Kamba on September 23. Kamba has grown up in a strong, stable family group at Brookfield Zoo, where she has gained the social experience and confidence she needs to be a good mother.

Kamba and her infant can be seen in the zoo’s Tropic World: Africa habitat along with Koola (Kamba’s mother), 20; Nora (Koola’s second daughter), almost 2; Binti Jua (Koola’s mother), 27; and JoJo (the infant’s sire), 35. This birth marks four generations of western lowland gorillas currently in the group at Brookfield Zoo.

The pairing of the adult female gorillas at Brookfield Zoo, including Kamba, with JoJo, who arrived in 2012 from Lincoln Park Zoo, is based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan. A Species Survival Plan is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Currently, 339 western lowland gorillas live in 48 accredited North American zoos.

JoJo is one of the most genetically valuable males in the Western Lowland Gorilla SSP population and is an especially good match for the adult females at Brookfield Zoo. “Having JoJo come here has been a great success story and demonstrates the collaboration among the zoo community to effectively care for this critically endangered species,” said Craig Demitros, associate curator of primates for the Society. JoJo has a calm disposition. He was very playful with his offspring at Lincoln Park Zoo and he has shown the same interaction with Nora at Brookfield Zoo. “We anticipate he will continue to be playful with Kamba’s infant as it gets older,” added Demitros.

A newborn gorilla weighs between 4 and 5 pounds at birth. The infant has a strong grip and will cling to Kamba’s abdomen. When the infant is 3 months old, zoo guests will be able to observe it riding on Mom’s back with the infant’s white rump tuft signaling baby on board. About a month later, it will start to sample small pieces of food. However, nursing will continue until it is 3 to 4 years old. Also, at 4 months old, the infant will start to explore on its own but will stay within arm’s reach of Kamba.

Gorillas live in social groups comprised of one adult male, several adult females, juveniles, and infants. As they reach sexual maturity, both males and females typically leave the group in which they were born. They either establish a new group or join an existing one.

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered primarily due to commercial hunting for the bushmeat trade, diseases such as the Ebola virus, as well as the illegal pet trade and habitat destruction from logging. It is not known how many western lowland gorillas survive in their native West Africa (the forests of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Congo, and Angola). Some estimates have been between 90,000 and 110,000 individuals, but new surveys are needed to determine whether or not this figure is exaggerated.
 
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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit www.CZS.org.
 
 
 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071
E-mail: Sondra.Katzen@CZS.org

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