Wednesday, August 04, 2010

London Zoo Brings In Irish Gorilla To Replace Dead Males

Kesho the Gorilla
A male gorilla from Ireland is being transferred to London zoo after two previous males died at the attraction within 18 months of each other.

Kesho, an 11-year-old who was born and raised at Dublin zoo, is expected to arrive in London within weeks, where he will be introduced to three females.

He will replace two older males, Bongo and Yeboah, who died in December 2008 and March this year from apparently unrelated medical conditions.

Zookeepers consulted international experts before agreeing to transfer Kesho, because gorillas sometimes attack each other's offspring and the youngest female in the group, Mjukuu, became pregnant by Yeboah shortly before he died.

The newborn gorilla, which would be the first for London zoo in 22 years, might still be in danger without a dominant male present, because the females in the group are then more likely to fight one another.

"If there isn't a strong leader in the group, if there isn't a male coming into that position, then the potential is you'll have one female trying to take control of the group, and that can destabilise it," said Kirsten Pullen, an expert in gorilla behaviour at Paignton zoo in Devon.

Full story here.

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