There is a new gorilla in the midst at the Taronga Zoo. Experinced mother Frala and her mate Kibali have welcomed the infant, the second born at Taronga Zoo in the past seven months.
33 year old Frala is proving to be an excellent mother. She is experienced having raised six gorillas in the past.
Primate Supervisor, Lou Grossfeldt said, “All’s well in hand with Frala. She has years of experience being a mother. She’s very comfortable and relaxed after another text book birth. She’s raised a number of infants before who are now living all around the world.”
This baby will go on to become a playmate for Mikukuu the first member of Taronga Zoo’s new gorilla troop. “This new infant is great for young Mjukuu as a future playmate,” added Grossfeldt.
Frala has kept the baby close meaning keepers are having difficulty sexing it.
Executive Director, Cameron Kerr said, “This birth is vital for Taronga’s highly successful Western Lowland Gorilla breeding program.”
Lowland gorillas are endangered in the wild with just 100,000 remaining in their central African home. These new births help to safeguard the rapidly declining population in Africa.
Kerr added, “This newborn is the latest contribution to Taronga’s story of demonstrating the Zoo’s 360 degree approach to conservation including breeding, husbandry, in-situ programs, research and education.”
The bushmeat and pet trades, forest clearance, illegal mining and the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola has placed strain on the wild population of gorillas.
Luckily the zoo is helping explained Kerr, “The Zoo supports gorillas in the wild through the “They’re Calling You” program which recycles mobiles phones to reduce demand for illegally mined minerals and to raises funds for wildlife patrols and by choosing FSC-certified wood products which are sustainably sourced.”
1-3: Lisa Ridley
4-5: Rick Stevens
6: Paul Fahy