Fort Worth Zoo Welcomes Newborn Lowland Gorilla
Dec 10, 2015 09:17AM ● Published by Audrey Sellers
Photo via Fort Worth Zoo
The Fort Worth Zoo just got a lot cuter … and made history at the same time. The Zoo’s first-ever western lowland gorilla was born December 5 to first-time parents Gracie and Elmo.
The yet-to-be-named ape is staying close to his mother as he gets acclimated to his surroundings in the Zoo’s World of Primates exhibit, according to a press release. He will be viewable in indoor or outdoor exhibits at various times during the day, which will be dictated by weather conditions and his activity level.
The Fort Worth Zoo is the only zoo in the nation to house representatives of all four great ape species: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos.
Western lowland gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to hunting and disease. Gorillas also have an alarmingly low reproductive rate (at an observed rate of 3 percent population increase), so even if there was a drastic decline in hunting and disease, it could take at least 75 years for population recovery to occur in optimistic scenarios. The Zoo participates in a cooperative breeding program for gorillas that maintains a healthy, self-sustaining population of vulnerable animals to help prevent their extinction.