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Staff at Bristol Zoo Gardens are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new female gorilla.
Seven-year-old Kala will arrive at the Zoo next week from Hannover Zoo in Germany, where she was born and raised.
She will join Bristol Zoo’s troop of seven Western Lowland gorillas following recommendation from the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, managed by EAZA (the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria).
In the wild, at Kala’s age, females would look to leave their family group to find a mate and join another troop. Bristol Zoo Gardens has been selected as the best place for her to move on to as it has the facilities for an expanding troop of gorillas.
Lynsey Bugg, curator of mammals at Bristol Zoo Gardens, explained why Kala is joining Bristol Zoo. She said: “Kala has reached sexual maturity and would naturally be ready to start looking for a mate. Jock, our silverback, is a good genetic match for Kala so it is hoped the pair will breed together.
“We want to expand our gorilla breeding programme and we have the veterinary and animal husbandry expertise to facilitate this. Bristol Zoo has a successful history of breeding gorillas and this is the exciting next step in continuing that for the future.
“Kala’s Hannover family group is similar to ours, with youngsters and females of different ages. We hope her personality will fit in well and she will quickly find her place in our social hierarchy.”
The process of introducing Kala to the other gorillas is very sensitive; therefore she will not always be available for the public to see. Her dedicated team of keepers will be keeping a close eye on the dynamics of the troop and will monitor Kala’s interactions.
Kala is similar in age to Kukeña, Bristol Zoo’s seven-year-old female gorilla, and it is hoped that the two will become playmates, which will help Kala settle into her new surroundings.
Kala’s new Bristol family is made up of one male, two breeding females, one female of post-breeding age and three youngsters. This complete range of age groups will provide Kala with the best chance of settling down and thriving in her new environment.
Western Lowland gorillas come from an area of dense forest and swamp which covers South East Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic and are critically endangered in the wild.
Their native forests are being exploited for their timber, which opens up routes into the forest providing easier access to hunters who kill gorillas for bush meat and trophies.
Sponsored by Bristol-based Nessy Learning Ltd, Bristol Zoo’s family of Western Lowland gorillas live on Gorilla Island and inside their award-winning Gorilla House, which offers 180-degree viewing of the troop.
Did you know you can adopt our baby gorilla Afia and our silverback Jock? For a truly unique gift - whilst contributing to our conservation fund - click here to adopt!
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