Toronto Zoo Welcomes Birth of Critically Endangered Western Lowland Gorilla

The Toronto Zoo has announced that Ngozi, a 20 year-old female Western lowland gorilla, gave birth to a baby early this morning on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Mom and baby are both healthy and are doing well, and Wildlife Care Staff will continue to monitor their development. Charles, the Zoo’s 46 year-old silverback male, is the newborn’s father. At this time Zoo staff cannot determine the sex of the baby, as it remains close to Mom. You may catch a glimpse of Ngozi and her newborn in the African Rainforest Pavilion. Please note there is no confirmed viewing schedule.

This is Ngozi’s third birth. Her first son Nassir, was born at the Toronto Zoo on September 2, 2009 and her first daughter Nneka, was born at the Toronto Zoo on January 10, 2014. Ngozi, came to the Toronto Zoo from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on March 4, 2008, to breed with Charles. This newborn is the 11th of this critically endangered species to be sired by Charles and born at the Toronto Zoo. This newest addition to the Zoo’s family is genetically significant for the North American Western lowland gorilla population.

We are very excited with this birth said Maria Franke,” Curator of Mammals, Toronto Zoo. “Gorillas are under extreme threats in the wild including poaching, disease, and habitat loss. It is predicted that the wild population will have an 80% reduction over three generations and it is essential that we educate the public and do everything we can to save this critically endangered species.

The Toronto Zoo currently has eight gorillas; three adults, Charles, Josephine and Ngozi, and four youngsters, Johari (female, born 2001), Sadiki (male, born 2005), Nassir (male, born 2009), Nneka (female, born 2014) and the new baby. Western lowland gorillas are found in the rainforests of Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Gabon. An adult male can weigh 200 kg, with adult females weighing around 100 kg. Females mature at approximately eight years, but typically don’t breed until 10 years of age. The average gestation period is 265 days with a single young being born.

The Toronto Zoo is part of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. One of the Toronto Zoo's mandates is to educate visitors on current conservation issues and help preserve the incredible biodiversity on the planet. The Toronto Zoo is in a great position to bring forward the plight of the Western lowland gorilla and supports gorilla conservation efforts in the wild through such programs as PhoneApesTM cell phone recycling, keeper driven events and the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund.

Stay tuned for information on the name and gender reveal!

Click here to find out more information on the Western Lowland gorilla.

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