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Update on Machi the gorilla!

Zoo Atlanta recently welcomed back one of our gorilla legends, Machi. We have received such great support from the community on this collaboration between Zoo Knoxville and Zoo Atlanta to provide Machi the best quality of care that she deserves. On behalf of the Primate Team, thank you for that support!

When Machi arrived, our goal was to get her feeling better. At 45, she is considered a geriatric gorilla and has some of the physical ailments that humans exhibit when we get older. (Machi, I’m right there with you and feeling those too.) Since her arrival, Machi’s mobility has greatly improved.

Gorillas are extremely social animals who live in large groups, so our next goal was to get Machi back with other gorillas. Luckily for us, Machi’s mom, Choomba, and two other former group mates, Kuchi and Ozzie, live here. Four days after her arrival, we started a “howdy” process of reintroducing them. I can hear everyone now: What is a howdy process? 

Well, a howdy is a tool we use to slowly introduce animals to one another. It allows them to get to know each other without having full contact. Animals can be next to each other so that they can see and smell one another, but they don’t have full access to each other in the same space. At Zoo Atlanta, we have interchangeable doors that we can change from solid to mesh. This has allowed Machi to see and hear the other gorillas, but they can also actually touch each other through the smaller holes. We anticipated this phase of the reintroduction process to go rather seamlessly. There was a little bit of displaying by Kuchi and Choomba, nothing by Machi, and it really appeared as if Choomba and Machi remembered each other!  This is a great step moving forward for a full reintroduction. We will keep you updated on our progress and again, thank you for the support. I cared for Machi before she left Atlanta, and I’m excited to welcome this beautiful lady back home.  

(photo: Tennessee Trails Photography)

Jodi Carrigan
Associate Curator of Primates

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl