Bristol Zoo Gardens is home to a family of eight western lowland gorillas. One silverback, Jock as well as Kera, Kukena, Romina, Salome and Touni. In February 2016, Kera's first baby Afia was born after an emergency caesarean section. In April 2017, Touni gave birth to baby Ayana.
Western lowland gorillas are Critically Endangered primates (mammals) from Cameroon, in the west Central Africa region.
When walking, gorillas walk on the soles of their feet and the knuckles of their hands, although they can walk a few metres standing on their legs alone.
The dominant male makes the most noise. He has a range of calls that alert the group of approaching predators. His chest-drumming display can be heard a couple of kilometres away. This display serves to keep neighbouring groups out of sight of one another. If they do meet, the males may smash plants around, charge and beat their chests in a display of strength. The females are rather quieter, with a vocabulary of grunts and grumbles.
Afia, our baby Western lowland gorilla who was born at the Zoo in Febraury 2016, after a rare caesarean section, is doing well. You can read more about the amazing story here.
Did you know you can adopt mighty Jock or little Kukena? For a truly unique gift - while contributing to our conservation fund - click here to adopt!
Western lowland gorillas are herbivores; their diet consists of vegetation, some fruits, and nuts.
Our gorillas eat a wide variety of vegetables, nuts, eggs, branches and a specially made biscuit, to give them all the nutrients they need. Besides constant fresh water being available for drinking, they are also given sugar-free Ribena and herbal tea.
In the wild, western lowland gorillas live in tropical rainforest.
Gorillas’ beds are simply a mat of nearby vegetation thrown together to form a cosy nest. They prefer to live in areas where there is a mass of low-level juicy vegetation: old river beds, old clearings or areas affected by landslides.
The wild population of western lowland gorillas is estimated somewhere between 90,000 and 110,000.
Many gorillas are killed for the 'bush meat' trade where animals are shot by hunters and the meat sold to traders in towns and cities.
As there are so few western lowland gorillas, it is necessary to manage the populations in human care and wild populations, if the species is to recover. Bristol Zoo Gardens is actively involved in ensuring there is a strong population in human care.
Click here to find out about our conservation work in Cameroon to protect the western lowland gorilla and why we need to do more.
In 2016 Salome celebrated her 40th birthday. She is described by her keepers as one of the most intelligent of the troop and very knowledgeable in terms of social dynamics and how females behave within a troop. Salome was pivotal in the learning of two of our other females, Romina and Kera, who hadn’t had the opportunity to learn about family groups.
You can find our family of western lowland gorillas on Gorilla Island and indoors in the Gorilla House
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