FATHER/SON GORILLA DUO CELEBRATE 3 AND 33 AT JOINT BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Western lowland gorilla Floyd and his father Taz celebrated their third and 33rd birthdays at a joint celebration with their troop on Saturday, July 23, 2022, at Zoo Atlanta.
Floyd, who turned 3 on July 24, and Taz, who turned 33 on July 20, and the other members of their family entered their habitat in the Zoo’s Ford African Rain Forest to find an abundance of birthday surprises, including piles of wood wool (a particular favorite form of enrichment for Floyd) and numeral-shaped ice treats filled with frozen juice and fruit.
Floyd is the youngest member of the gorilla population at Zoo Atlanta and the 24th gorilla to be born in The Ford African Rain Forest. Led by silverback Taz, his family group also includes adult females Kudzoo and daughters Merry Leigh and Mijadala; Sukari and daughter Anaka; and Floyd’s mother, Lulu, and her daughter Andi. Taz’s troop is one of four social groups of gorillas at Zoo Atlanta.
Zoo Atlanta has a globally recognized program for the care and behavioral study of western lowland gorillas, which are critically endangered. Wild populations have plummeted in recent years as a result of habitat loss, poaching, illegal hunting for the bushmeat trade, and emerging diseases. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), over a 25-year period, these combined threats have reduced wild populations by 60 percent, with declines of as much as 90 percent in some parts of their range in western Africa.
The Zoo is home to one of North America’s largest populations of gorillas. Research by Zoo Atlanta team members has influenced the care of gorillas in zoos, as well as enhanced the world’s understanding of gorillas, with more than 100 published papers on maternal care, reproduction, social behavior, and cognition. Zoo Atlanta is the headquarters of the Great Ape Heart Project, the world’s first effort to understand, diagnose, and treat cardiac disease across all four great ape taxa: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos.
Zoo Atlanta supports the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Gorilla SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) Program, which focuses expertise within accredited zoos. For more than 20 years, the Zoo has supported its longtime partner in gorilla conservation, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, by providing pro-bono headquarters space, information technology support, and financial resources. The Zoo and the Fossey Fund were among the organizations to host the first-ever World Gorilla Day in 2017.
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