Love connection: Boston and Philly gorillas will mate

Jabari was selected by Philadelphia Zoo officials to mate with Kira, also a western lowland gorilla, who will soon be leaving Franklin Park Zoo. (Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Zoo).
Jabari was selected by Philadelphia Zoo officials to mate with Kira, also a western lowland gorilla, who will soon be leaving Franklin Park Zoo. Credit: Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo is setting up one of its studs with a gorilla from Boston.

Kira, a western lowland gorilla, will soon be leaving Franklin Park Zoo to make her new home at the Philadelphia Zoo for one purpose: to mate with a Philly primate and raise a family.

Philly selected Jabari, also a western lowland, out of three others here.

Meredith Bastian, curator of primates at the Philadelphia Zoo, said Kira will arrive in the next week or so, but won’t be on exhibit right away.

Bastian said the curators will introduce the new gorilla to the group, and allow plenty of time for them to get to know each other.

“And only after they are very well acquainted would we be attempting breeding for a baby,” she said.

The female gorillas are given contraceptives until they are deemed ready to breed. There is another female gorilla in the pack, but she is not approved for motherhood.

The male gorillas mate with all females in the group.

“We introduce them, and all three will be together, and when we’re ready the one who is recommended to breed (Kira) will not be on contraceptive,” Bastian said.

Kira, who was born in 1999, was the first gorilla born at Franklin Park Zoo. On the zoo’s website, Kira is described as the “peacemaker” of the Boston gorilla group.

“(Kira) has learned mothering skills by watching her own mother as well as by helping to care for her younger sisters,” said Jeannine Jackle, assistant curator of Franklin Park Zoo’s Tropical Forest.


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