New gorilla at Philadelphia Zoo could start family

Motuba may not know it just yet but he’s going to be the dominant male gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The 430-pound silverback gorilla strolled into town last week — and although introductions to his new primate family have yet to happen — zoo handlers have high hopes for him; they hope he’ll mate with female Kira to start a family.

“The family structure is really dependent on the silverback,” said Kristen Farley-Rambo, gorilla keeper. “He’s the glue of the group. He provides leadership and structure.”

The gorilla group had been without a patriarch — and without a potential mate for Kira — since 28-year-old Jabari unexpectedly died in August. Jabari had been paired up with Kira to start a family since she joined the group from Boston in June. Before Jabari could start a family with Kira, he died of a bacterial infection and left a huge hole in the family group.

Zoo officials worked with the Species Survival Plan program and they found that Motuba, from Omaha, was a great genetic match with Kira.

“He was deemed our guy,” said Farley-Rambo. “He arrived Thursday night. We haven’t done full introductions yet but we’ve seen mutual interest. The girls are interested in him and we’ve heard some breeding vocalization.”

The female gorillas will also be “shifting” better, Farley-Rambo said. The males lead the group from one space to another. “Right now, without that leadership, they are doing whatever they want.”

In the next two weeks, introductions will happen and Kira will be taken off birth control to possibly breed.

 

Gorilla profile

Name: Motuba

Type: Western lowland gorilla

Age: 29

Sign: Aquarius. Born Jan. 25, 1985

Weight: 430 pounds

Body type: Hairy “in a good way!” says Farley-Rambo

Personality type: Smart, laid back

 

Matchmaking — How do you know when there’s a match?

The Gorilla Species Survival Plan program looks at every single captive gorilla available to try to find a genetic match. Using mathematical equations, Farley-Rambo said officials look at actual genes to see which two gorillas would be best at mating.

Louis, a teenage male gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo, is not a good genetic match with Kira or even Honi, another female there.

“You have to look at the entire family line,” Farley-Rambo said, “like how many offspring did his family have. Also, you look at personality.”

Motuba has no offspring yet. He lived with bachelor gorillas for most of his life.

 

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow City Editor Christina Paciolla on Twitter: @cpaciolla

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.