Monday, September 22, 2008

Bristol Zoo Gardens Adopts Orphaned Lowland Gorilla

kera gorillaOrphan gorilla Kera has found herself a new home where it is hoped she will ensure the future of a rare breed of apes.

The four-year-old gorilla is being introduced to her adoptive family of western lowland gorillas at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Born a twin at Barcelona zoo, Kera's mother rejected her and she had to be hand-reared at a special ape nursery at Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany.

But as she grew older a new home had to be found and Bristol zoo was chosen because of its facilities and already-established family of gorillas, headed by Jock, a 34-stone male.

She joins Salome and Romina, the two adult females, three-year-old Namoki and little Komale, who is almost two.

A keeper from Stuttgart zoo travelled with Kera to Bristol and stayed for a few days to help her settle in.

John Partridge, the zoo's senior curator of animals, said Kera, who is described as dominant yet good natured, sociable and very greedy, would eventually breed with Jock.

"Female gorillas are quite rare in the captive breeding programme, so when we were told that a young gorilla from the nursery needed a new home, we applied to have her and were selected, which is fantastic," he said.

"We want to expand our gorilla breeding programme here at Bristol Zoo and we have the veterinary and animal husbandry expertise to facilitate this.

"Kera is currently too young to breed, she will eventually be able to breed with Jock.

"One of our other adult females, Salome, is getting fairly old now and has a history of having trouble conceiving, so this is also a way of looking to the future of our breeding group."

The gorilla family's day to day life can be seen live on the zoo's webcam.

Story here.

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