Philadelphia Zoo to bring in new gorilla to breed

Photo courtesy of the Franklin Park Zoo.
Kira learned mother skills from her mother and helping to care for her younger sisters. Credit: Franklin Park 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 as the lucky rascal.

“(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.

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.

Both zoos take part in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, in which zoos from around the country work together to mate breeds of endangered or rare species to create a most robust population. Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild.

John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England, which oversees Franklin Park Zoo, said in a statement that Kira will make a great mother.

“Kira is at the right age for her to start her own family, and we feel that she is very ready to make this move,” he said.


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