Two new Western lowland gorillas arrived today (7/27/16) at the Santa Barbara Zoo from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.
Nzinga (age 18) and Bangori (age 12) are brothers, and will be on view to the public after a thirty day quarantine. The public debut date will be announced on the Zoo’s social media.
The Zoo’s previous gorillas, named Goma and Kivu, had resided at the Zoo since 1997 in the Forest’s Edge exhibit and departed this spring. Goma and Kivu are now playing a vital role in adding to the genetic diversity of North American gorillas having joined family groups at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado (Goma) and the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas (Kivu).
About Western Lowland Gorillas
Found in the lowland tropical forests of central Africa and the Congo Basin, the Western lowland gorilla population is critically endangered. Main threats stem from human-disease transmission, poaching and habitat loss due to mining and timber industries. According to the World Wildlife Fund, even if all threats to Western lowland gorillas were removed, scientists calculate the population would require at least 75 years to recover due to naturally low birth rates.
Currently, there are 353 Western lowland gorillas that reside in 51 Association of Zoo & Aquarium (AZA) institutions throughout North America.
The Santa Barbara Zoo’s role in this effort is to house all male groups called bachelor troops. Bachelor troops play a critical role in the development of young, male gorillas. When it’s time for teenage males to leave their birth families, they join a bachelor troop until they are old enough to establish a family troop of their own.
The species is also known by one of the more memorable the scientific names in the animal
kingdom, Gorilla gorilla gorilla.
“Support the Troop”
The public can help the Zoo celebrate the arrival of Nzinga and Bangori by becoming a Foster Feeder sponsor for Western lowland gorillas. A donation of $50 helps with the cost of feeding the gorillas. New gorilla Foster Feeders receive a plush gorilla (while supplies last) along with a certificate, fact sheet, and recognition on the Zoo’s Foster Feeder board. For information, visit www.sbzoo.org/donate and choose Sponsor an Animal.
Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres ofbotanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Asian elephant, California condor, Channel Island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others.
A private nonprofit corporation, the Santa Barbara Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements. The Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission is $17 for adults, $13 for seniors aged 65+, $10 for children 2-12, and children under 2 are free. Parking is $7. Visit www.sbzoo.org.