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Gorilla Dads

Hey everyone! My name is Sarah, and I am a gorilla keeper here at Zoo Atlanta.

When you think of great dads in the animal kingdom, a couple may cross your mind. For example, male seahorses carry and hatch up to 1,000 eggs, or maybe you think of emperor penguin fathers who keep the egg/chick warm and feeds it while mom is gone for two months looking for fish.

One that you may not think of are gorilla dads. Gorilla fathers actually play an incredible role in raising their kids. Now they may not be as active as some animal parents, but it is up to them to protect the whole gorilla troop. They also have been known to play with their youngsters very gently and can be extremely patient with their kids’ crazy antics. Gorilla dads are also extremely important to their male kids as a role model. As young male gorillas grow, they watch their father so they can learn how to be a silverback gorilla as well as how to protect and lead a troop of their own.

Here at Zoo Atlanta, we have a couple of great father figures. One is Mr. Taz. He can be found in Habitat 3 with our big family group. If you’re lucky you can see Taz play and roughhouse with his son Henry. Another great father we have is Mr. Ozzie, found in Habitat 2. He has been a very successful father and has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren here at Zoo Atlanta and at AZA zoos around the country! On top of that, he is the oldest living male gorilla in the world! We celebrated his 56th birthday on Father’s Day. You can find three of his sons, Kekla, Charlie and Stadi, living together in a bachelor group in our Habitat 1.

Well, I hope all the dads out there had a great Father’s Day, and I hope to see you all around the Zoo sometime soon!
Sarah Himmelspach
Keeper, Primates

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