Help name the infant gorilla
Submit names online and support gorilla conservation ahead of naming day on World Gorilla Day.
World Gorilla Day will bring an extra cause for celebration this year: The event will also be the naming day of the youngest member of the gorilla population at Zoo Atlanta. In tribute to the significance of the day and in honor of his 2-month birthday, the western lowland gorilla infant born to Lulu on July 24 will be named on September 24, and the world is invited to help choose his name.
Beginning Tuesday, September 10, and continuing until 11 p.m. EST on Friday, September 20, members of the public are encouraged to visit zooatlanta.org/gorillanaming, where name submissions may be submitted online with a donation of $5 per submission. All donations received through the naming campaign will benefit The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the Zoo’s longtime partner in gorilla conservation.
After September 20, three names will be chosen at random to be featured in the infant’s family’s habitat in the Zoo’s Ford African Rain Forest on World Gorilla Day. At 2 p.m. on September 24, the gorillas will determine the winning name with their first choice of one of three special enrichment items.
Zoo Atlanta and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International have been partners in gorilla conservation for more than 20 years. The Zoo supports the organization by providing headquarters space, information technology support and financial support, allowing the Fossey Fund to focus their efforts for gorillas and human communities in Africa. Over the years, the Zoo has also provided the Fossey Fund with board leadership and program support, as well as shared scientific team members.
Lulu’s infant is the 24th gorilla born at Zoo Atlanta and bears a double legacy in the Zoo’s gorilla program. He is a grandson of the late Willie B. and a great-grandson of Ozzie, the world’s oldest living male gorilla at 58.
Every birth is crucial for western lowland gorillas. 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 emerging diseases such as Ebola have reduced their numbers by 60 percent in the wild, with declines of as much as 90 percent in some parts of their range in western Africa. Populations living within North American zoos are overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse gorilla population for future generations, and in which Zoo Atlanta is an active partner.
Research by Zoo Atlanta team members has influenced industry-wide improvements in 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.
Follow hashtag #SilverbackStory on Zoo Atlanta Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for regular updates on the infant’s growth and milestones. Learn more about the gorillas of Zoo Atlanta or World Gorilla Day on zooatlanta.org.
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About the gorilla program at Zoo Atlanta
The arrival of Zoo Atlanta’s most famous gorilla, the late Willie B., in 1961, evolved into what is today a nationally recognized program for the care and behavioral study of critically endangered western lowland gorillas. Twenty-four gorillas have been born at Zoo Atlanta since the opening of the landmark Ford African Rain Forest in 1988, with all infants having been mother-reared or reared by a gorilla surrogate. In 2011, the 50th anniversary year of its gorilla program, Zoo Atlanta earned the distinguished Edward H. Bean Award for Significant Achievement from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for its long-term commitment to the species. Research published by Zoo Atlanta staff has resulted in more than 100 scientific papers on gorilla behavior, biology, reproduction and care. Zoo Atlanta is the headquarters of the Great Ape Heart Project, the world’s first coordinated effort to understand, diagnose, and treat cardiac disease across all four great ape taxa. Zoo Atlanta’s primary partner in gorilla conservation, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, is headquartered at Zoo Atlanta and protects and supports gorillas and their habitats in Africa.
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 Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, home to more than 70 species in the world’s first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian complex. Experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African lions, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and lemurs. Zoo Atlanta is open year-round with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper Talks, interactive wildlife presentations, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.
NOW OPEN: the all-new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs and meerkats. The African Savanna is part of the Zoo’s landmark Grand New View transformation. Future elements include Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination, and a new grand entry plaza, opening in early 2020. For more on the Zoo’s mission and conservation programs and partnerships, visit zooatlanta.org/conservation or download the 2018 conservation report, Beyond the Zoo.
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