ASHEBORO, N.C. — After a change in plans and acquisition of funds to renovate animal holding facilities, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) has recommended that two young gorillas and their mothers remain at the North Carolina Zoo.
In addition, a new adult male and adult female, along with a four-year-old male, will be added to the N.C. Zoo troop next spring. In May, the Gorilla SSP recommended that the N.C. Zoo’s two-year-old male gorillas, “Bomassa” and “Apollo,” along with their mothers “Jamani,” age 15, and “Olympia,” age 19, be moved to another zoo where an adult male role model would be available to teach the youngsters behaviors which would transform into adulthood.
Since then donors to the N.C. Zoological Society, the zoo’s nonprofit support organization, have provided funds to expand the N.C. Zoo’s gorilla holding facilities to accommodate additional animals. Construction of these facilities is planned over the winter in order to accommodate additional gorillas in the spring.
As a result of the improvements, the SSP has recommended the transfer of 30-year-old male “Mosuba,” 39-year-old female “Rosie,” and her four-year-old grandson “Hadari,” from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., to the N.C. Zoo.
“Mosuba is a good candidate for our situation because he has been integrated with young gorillas that are not his before,” explained N.C. Zoo General Curator Ken Reininger. “Therefore we have confidence introducing him to our young males will be successful.”
Also to be relocated due to the recommendations is N.C. Zoo female gorilla Acacia, age 19, who is not considered a reproductive candidate. Her eventual destination has not been confirmed.
The N.C. Zoo has participated in the AZA Species Survival Plan since its inception in 1981 as a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected captive species at North American zoos and aquariums. Each SSP carefully manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. The program’s mission is to help ensure the survival of selected species in captivity.