Happy 60th birthday, Ozzie!
Father’s Day brings a major milestone for one of the most treasured members of the Zoo Atlanta population. At 60, Ozzie the western lowland gorilla is the world’s oldest living male gorilla and the oldest male gorilla on record. The gorilla patriarch celebrated with a multi-tiered ice “cake” filled with frozen fruits and topped with the number 60.
One of the original pioneers of the Zoo’s landmark Ford African Rain Forest, Ozzie has more than 20 descendants, including children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, living at Zoo Atlanta and at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos.
Ozzie has made lasting contributions to the future of his species in his years at Zoo Atlanta. Now classified as critically endangered, western lowland gorilla populations have declined dramatically since Ozzie’s youth. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), over a 25-year period, the combined threats of poaching, illegal hunting for the bushmeat trade, habitat loss and disease have reduced their numbers by 60 percent, with declines of as much as 90 percent in some parts of their range in western Africa. Gorilla populations at accredited zoos in North America are overseen by the AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which seeks to maintain self-sustaining, genetically diverse animal populations for future generations.
Gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of 40. Ozzie shares his habitat with females Choomba (58), Machi (45), and Kuchi (36), in areas specifically configured for the needs of senior gorillas.
Learn more about the gorilla program at Zoo Atlanta at zooatlanta.org.
Rachel Davis, Director of Communications
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404.309.2238 – cell
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
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About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the new Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.
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