Behind the scenes with the gorillas
COVID-19 has forced all of us to make many lifestyle changes. It has even affected the way we at the Zoo work with many of the animals, including the western lowland gorillas. Since gorillas are so closely related to us, they are able to contract many of the diseases we get, including seasonal flu. This is why they all receive an annual flu vaccine. We have always taken precautions to protect their health by wearing gloves and masks whenever around them or interacting with objects they will come in contact with. This has been a long-standing practice for us. Additionally, however, we have implemented a physical distancing policy with the gorillas to further protect them. The biggest impact this has is when it comes to our training program. Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily halted much of the training with the gorillas and other non-human primate species, again to make sure we our safeguarding them from illness.
While it is unfortunate that we are currently not training, this has opened up some time for us to move forward in other areas of gorilla care. For example, we have amped up our enrichment program, offering a wider variety of items and activities, as well as increased frequency of enrichment activities. We have even had some other animals visit the gorillas during this time while there are no visitors around. To be honest, I don’t think the gorillas mind the lack of training with everything else they are busy with, judging by their behavior.
Since most of you are probably still quarantined at home, we’ve made sure to provide updates, photos, and videos for you all to still feel like you’re at the Zoo, visiting the animals, and learning fun facts about them. This photo was from our annual Gorilla Egg Hunts on the Saturday before Easter. There is also a video on Zoo Atlanta Facebook of this event; you should check out if you have not already.
Don’t you worry, the Zoo will be more than ready for you to return whenever it is safe to do so! In the meantime, please consider a donation to Zoo Atlanta, as we all make our way through this crisis! Thank you for tuning in, and we can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces once this is all over! Take care!
Keeper I, Primates
(photo by Courtney M.)