Gorilla Cam debuts with birthday celebration
The youngest western lowland gorilla at Zoo Atlanta, Floyd, turned 2 on Saturday, July 24, 2021. His father, troop leader Taz, turned 32 on July 20. The Zoo celebrated both with a father/son birthday enrichment event on July 24. The celebration took place in tandem with the debut of Zoo Atlanta’s new Gorilla Cam, inviting friends around the world to tune in to be part of the big day.
Birthday surprises included ice treats made with frozen juice and fruit. As a special highlight, the Gorilla Care Team also created a giant numeral 2 made with wood wool, Floyd’s favorite substrate for play and nesting.
Gorillas may be visible on the cam from roughly 9 a.m. EST to roughly 5 p.m. EST, when they begin moving into their behind-the-scenes area for the night. Like wild gorillas, Taz’s group uses various aspects of this large habitat throughout the day; as their movements through the habitat are dynamic, they may not always be in view of the camera.
Floyd is Taz’s 11th offspring and is the 24th gorilla born at Zoo Atlanta since the opening of the landmark Ford African Rain Forest in 1988. He is a grandson of the legendary late Willie B. and a great-grandson of Ozzie, the world’s oldest living male gorilla at 60. Taz’s troop also includes Floyd’s mother Lulu; sister Andi; aunt Kudzoo; aunt Sukari; and half-sisters Merry Leigh, Anaka, and Mijadala.
Zoo Atlanta is home to one of North America’s largest populations of gorillas and has a globally recognized program for the care and behavioral study of the species, which is 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.