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Kukena is growing up fast and about to celebrate his fourth birthday.
Kukena was born on September 27th, 2011 to mum Salome and the troops’ silverback Jock.
Lynsey Bugg, assistant curator of mammals at Bristol Zoo, said: “Kukena is a lovely cheeky young male. He is full of character and enjoys playing with all members of our group, including the other females we have. Increasingly over the last year we have also seen him spending more and more time with ‘the boys’ – Jock and Kukena’s older brother Komale, who turns nine years old at the end of the year. He still shares a nest with mum Salome but he is becoming increasingly independent.”
Jock and Salome are genetically important gorillas because their genetic lines aren’t highly represented in the European breeding programme for this species and as a result so is their offspring.
Bristol Zoological Society has been involved in primate conservation since the late 1990s, supporting projects to prevent some of the most charismatic species from becoming extinct, such as The Dja Biosphere reserve, which is a class II protected area and world heritage site. Bristol Zoo has joined forces with the Living Earth Foundation to work closely with local communities to alleviate the pressure on this site of world importance.
Alongside working with local communities Bristol Zoo also supports the largest gorilla sanctuary in Africa, which is home to around 17 young gorillas, 90 chimpanzees and over 150 monkeys.
In Cameroon gorillas and chimpanzees are hunted for their meat and their young are often taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation. Sanctuaries play a vital role in protecting and preserving this charismatic species by taking in orphaned chimps and gorillas, giving them medical attention and, most importantly, a safe home.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
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