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Getting to know Kambera, Shalia and Amari

Hello there!  My name is Cassie, and I am the newest member of the Gorilla Care Team here at Zoo Atlanta.  I thought being the new human girl around here, it was only appropriate that I introduce you all a little more to the three new gorilla girls we recently welcomed to Zoo Atlanta. 

You have probably seen several social media posts lately updating you all about the three females who arrived in early December and how introductions to one another have been going behind the scenes.  Although it may be a while before they are fully integrated into a new group with Willie B., Jr. or visible on habitat, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little more about each girl’s background and personality.  

First up is Kambera (pictured here)!  Kambera came to us from Columbus Zoo in Ohio and is the oldest of the three females; she will be turning 22 years old in February. Kambera has a more dominant personality than the other two and seems to like to have things her way.  She is also proving to be very smart and curious and is excellent at figuring out different enrichment devices.  Kambera also seems to prefer being up high when she has the option, probably to keep an eye on the other two girls.  She also likes to make her nests on the high beds and platforms both in the behind-the-scenes habitat and in her indoor area.  Kambera has a slimmer build than Shalia, who is a little broader in her shoulders.  Kambera is also much darker overall, while Shalia has a lot more silver in her hair, especially on her back.

Next up is Shalia.  Shalia is 18 years old and also joined us from Columbus Zoo. Although Shalia and Kambera had seen each other before while at Columbus Zoo, they were not in a group together previously.  Similar to Kambera, Shalia also comes off as having sort of a dominant personality, but she is much more laid-back and “go with the flow” than Kambera is, so for the most part she is content to let Kambera have her way.  That is, unless it comes to food!  Shalia is our resident “foodie.”  She is always ready for mealtime and lets us know by making happy grumbles that tell us how excited she is. She also makes sure to check out the other girls’ feeding areas in case they left anything behind for her.  Shalia is the largest of the three girls, but just barely.  She is pretty easy to tell apart from the other girls based on her posture; her back appears quite long and dips really low as if she is sticking her bottom out.  She also has a much more distinguishable “red head” compared to Kambera, who is much darker overall.

Last but not least is Amari!  Amari came to us from Buffalo Zoo in New York and is the youngest of the group at 10 years old.  Being the youngest and smallest in the group, Amari is the most subordinate.  Although Amari comes across as shy and timid, she has a lot more personality than it might appear at first.  In the short time she has had with Shalia and Kambera, she has formed a separate and strong relationship with both and sometimes even plays peacemaker between the two older girls. One thing we noticed very quickly about Amari is her love of blankets, burlaps, and bedding material in general.  When it comes time to make a nest for the night, she often collects all the blankets and burlaps available and adds them to the biggest pile of hay she can manage to put together.  She will often drape the blankets over her back and head to carry them around with her as she forages for food. 

As you can tell, each of these girls has an amazing personality, and we cannot wait to get to know them better and learn more about them! While the girls aren’t yet visible to guests and haven’t yet been introduced to Willie B., Jr., keep an eye out for updates as the new troop forms. Hopefully there will be four gorillas in Habitat 4 sooner rather than later!

Cassie M.
Keeper II, Primates

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