src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1025725570919337&ev=PageView &noscript=1"/>
Zoo News

Zoo News


Dallas Zoo welcomes a critically endangered western lowland gorilla baby
Mar 13, 2019

This marks the zoo’s second baby gorilla in 21 years and the second born in just the lastyear

DALLAS (March 13, 2019) – Baby gorilla playdates will be endless this year at the Dallas Zoo! Texas’s oldest and largest zoo is welcoming its second baby gorilla born in 21 years – and the second born in just the last year.

The zoo’s 13-year-old critically endangered western lowland gorilla Megan quietly delivered the infant in the early morning on Thursday, March 7. This is Megan’s first time raising a baby and both are doing well; Megan has been very attentive, and the baby is nursing often and is keeping a strong grip on mom.

This birth brings another new wave of excitement for the Dallas Zoo – this is the first time the zoo has cared for two baby gorillas at the same time in almost 50 years. Nearly nine-month-old gorilla Saambili (born June 25, 2018 to mom Hope) now has a half-sibling playmate, and she’s already shown much interest in the newest addition.

“Gorilla conservation is a huge part of Dallas Zoo’s mission – we’ve been unwavering in our commitment to save them in the wild, and now we’re contributing more than ever to their protection in human care,” said Gregg Husdon, Dallas Zoo’s President and CEO. “We’ve gone from not having an infant gorilla for two decades, to now having two babies back-to-back, and it truly shows the dedication and perseverance of our world-class animal experts.”  

Mom Megan was paired with silverback Subira (also the father to Saambili) on an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan breeding recommendation in hopes of increasing the western lowland gorilla population in North America. Subira has proven to be an excellent father to Saambili, and he’s recently been observed giving her special attention and playtime during this quiet period for the troop.

“This is the most ideal social situation for our troop – both of our babies will be able to learn, grow, and play together,” said Linda King, Dallas Zoo’s Primate Supervisor. “This is also a big moment for mom Megan who has been extremely interested in Saambili since day one. She now has the wonderful opportunity to raise a baby of her own.”

The Dallas Zoo cares for ten gorillas, including its bachelor troop who live on the south side of the Gorilla Trail, and the family troop who live on the north side. All six troop members have remained behind the scenes so Megan and her baby can bond privately. Zoologists will take their cues from Megan on her comfort level and readiness to explore the habitat. A moniker and the baby’s gender reveal will come within the coming weeks.

According to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, there are approximately 350,000 western lowland gorillas left in Africa. The population decline is contributed to habitat destruction, poaching for bush meat, animal trafficking, and disease.

Native to the Congo Basin, western lowland gorillas are the smallest of the subspecies and the least critically endangered. There are roughly 3,800 Grauer’s gorillas, 880 mountain gorillas, and 300 Cross River gorillas remaining in the wild.

With nearly 300 western lowland gorillas living in AZA-accredited zoos, the nation’s top zoos have never been more committed to protecting this species in human care and in their native habitat. The Dallas Zoo has supported gorilla conservation for many years through its partners at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE).

The zoo’s animal care team aims for Megan and her baby to make their first scheduled public appearance by the end of the week (weather dependent). The zoo will share the date on its social media pages, and will formally invite media out to the debut.

Follow the most recent news about the Dallas Zoo on:

# # #

About the Dallas Zoo: The Dallas Zoo is dedicated to creating a better world for animals. Named one of the nation’s Top 10 Zoos by USA Today, it is the largest zoological experience in Texas. The zoo has been accredited continuously by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums since 1985, and features a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis) and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit DallasZoo.com or call 469.554.7500.


TAGS:

Login Logout YOUR CART () LOGIN MY ACCOUNT