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Baby Western Lowland Gorilla is the best birthday present for Bristol Zoo Gardens - 27/09/11

Staff at Bristol Zoo Gardens are celebrating the birth of a baby western lowland gorilla.

Salome with her newborn baby at Bristol ZooThe baby was born at lunchtime today (Tuesday September 27) by natural birth to Salome, and both mother and baby appear to be doing well.

The Gorilla House has been temporarily closed to allow the gorillas, including Dad Jock, time to bond with the new arrival.

The youngster, which is yet to be named, is the perfect gift for the Zoo, which this year celebrates its 175th birthday and is participating the European Zoo Association’s Ape Campaign, which aims to raise funds and awareness of the threats facing gorillas in the wild.

Senior Curator of Animals, John Partridge, said: “We are thrilled with the arrival of a baby gorilla. It is still very early days, but Salome is a great mother and has been cradling and cuddling her baby affectionately. We are pleased to say that both Salome and the baby are doing well.”

He added: “Salome keeps the baby very close and we are keen to give the gorillas space, therefore it is still too early to determine the sex of the baby. Naturally the gorilla keepers will keep a very close eye on mother and baby in these crucial first few days and weeks to ensure that they, along with the rest of the gorilla group, are healthy, content and bonding well.”

To see a video of the new baby visit

Salome with her baby while a curious young gorilla looks onThis is the third baby Salome has had at Bristol Zoo. Her last baby, Komale, was born in December 2006 following a course of ground-breaking fertility treatment, pioneered by Bristol Zoo’s former head vet, Sharon Redrobe. This time however, Salome conceived her baby naturally.

As well as Salome and her baby, Bristol Zoo Gardens is also home to silverback Jock; Namoki, six; Komale, four; Kera; seven and Romina, the Zoo’s other adult female gorilla, famous for undergoing the first ever cataract operation performed in Europe on an adult gorilla.

The gorillas at Bristol Zoo are part of an international conservation breeding programme for the western lowland gorilla, which is a critically endangered species.

All gorilla species are facing serious losses in the wild caused by a number of issues including forest destruction for logging, diseases such as ebola and the slaughter of primates for the illegal bushmeat trade.

Bristol Zoo Gardens has, for many years, supported Ape Action Africa, a charity working hard to prevent primate extinction in Cameroon, through caring for confiscated orphans of the bushmeat trade, and educating people about the bushmeat trade and habitat destruction.

Visitors to Bristol Zoo can currently see the Zoo’s Wow! Gorillas sculptures on display, as it is holding a ‘Goodbye Gorillas’ event until tomorrow (Wednesday September 28).

The Wow! Gorillas are free to view with normal Zoo entry prices, between 9am and 5.30pm. Guerilla Tourist, which was on display in Birmingham during the 10-week Wow! Gorillas trail, will be outside the Zoo’s main entrance, for people to visit free of charge. The other 60 gorillas will be on the Zoo’s main lawn.


For press enquiries please contact Bristol Zoo:

Lucy King, T: 0117 974 7306 or E:

Vanessa Hollier, T: 0117 974 7309 or E:


Notes to the Editor:

Bristol Zoo Gardens

  • Bristol Zoo is open from 9am every day except Christmas Day. 
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on income from visitors and supporters to continue its important work. 
  • In 2011 Bristol Zoo celebrates its 175th anniversary and wants to do more than celebrate.
  • Over that past 175 years, the Zoo has brought six generations of Bristolians closer to wildlife, helped save over 175 species from extinction, established over 30 field conservation and research programmes all over the world, showed 40 millionschool-aged children the wonder of nature and given more than 90 million visitors a wonderful day out.
  • Throughout 2011 we’re bring people, businesses, charities and wildlife together to share amazing experiences that raise awareness and funds to save threatened wildlife and places. To find out more, visit
  • Bristol Zoo has supported and been actively in gorilla conservation in Cameroon since 1998.
  • Throughout 2011 we will be focusing our efforts on raising funds and awareness in support of gorilla conservation.
  • Throughout 2011 Bristol Zoo will support theEuropean Association of Zoos and Aquaria Ape Campaign.The campaign aims to make a significant and lasting contribution to the continued survival of apes and their habitats, and is being led by Dr Bryan Carroll, the Director of Bristol Zoo.
  • To find out more about the EAZA Ape Campaign visit the Zoo website at
  • Bristol Zoo is involved with more than 100 co-ordinated breeding programmes for threatened wildlife species. 
  • Itemploys over 150 full and part-time staff to care for the animals and run a successful visitor attraction to support its conservation and education work. 
  • Bristol Zoo supports – through finance and skill sharing - 15 projects in the UK and abroad that conserveand protectsome of the world’s most endangered species.
  • In 2010 Bristol Zoo Gardens set up a Conservation Fund to raise vital funds to help care for threatened animals and plants – both in the Zoo and through the conservation work we do in the UK and around the world.
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. BIAZA represents more than 90 member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums.