There’s more baby boy joy here at the Zoo: we are thrilled to announce the birth of our second-ever western lowland gorilla! The littlest ape was born early Sunday morning, Nov. 6 to parents Gracie and Elmo (Gus is a big brother!) and is estimated to weigh between 4 and 5 pounds, which is normal for infant gorillas.
In the early days of Gracie’s pregnancy, keepers and staff kept the news under wraps. There were times when the pregnancy and baby needed to be discussed (prenatal exams and wellness checks) without spilling the beans – and knowing the popular “we don’t talk about Bruno” tune – the name came easy. From the first sonogram to his birthday, without seeing him, we all knew him as Bruno. And it stuck!
Bruno is staying close to his mother as he meets other troop members and gets acclimated to his surroundings in the Zoo’s World of Primates habitat. The pair continues to bond but are also fully integrated into the troop, mimicking family dynamics in the wild. He can be seen in both indoor and outdoor areas of the habitat at various times during the day, which will be dictated by weather conditions and his activity level.
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, so even if there was a drastic decline in hunting and disease, it could take decades 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 the vulnerable species to help prevent their extinction.
We can’t wait to watch him grow! On your next visit, come say hi to our newest bundle of joy!