Friday, March 21, 2008

Kashata The Gorilla Leaves Atlanta To Find Mate In Florida

kashata gorillaSay goodbye to Kashata, 14. She's going where the boys are.

The western lowland gorilla is leaving Zoo Atlanta today for Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, where officials have plans for her to mate.

For Kashata, this is the trip of a lifetime. She's lived at Zoo Atlanta since her birth April 10, 1993.

She's heading to Orlando, where she'll join a family headed by male gorilla Geno. The facility has a separate group of bachelors — males with no mates.

"We are enthusiastically welcoming Kashata to our family group," said Andrea Finger, a spokesperson for the Florida zoo.

Kashata, who's never given birth, is moving to Florida as part of the species survival plan administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The organization, which serves as a standards agency for more than 200 zoos and aquariums across North America, also oversees breeding programs for various species, including Gorilla gorilla gorilla, the western lowland gorilla.

The species is in trouble in the wild. Last year, an international list of imperiled animals classified the western lowland gorilla as critically endangered.

There are 362 western lowland gorillas living in AZA institutions — eight at the Disney park in Florida. Kashata's departure leaves 22 gorillas at Zoo Atlanta.

In Swahili, "kashata" is a snack, something between cookie and candy.

Story here.

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