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Riverbanks Plans Gender Reveal for Infant Gorilla

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2018

Plus, Another Zoo Baby is on the Way…

[Columbia, SC] — Riverbanks Zoo and Garden will reveal the gender of its infant gorilla — and details of another anticipated arrival — during a special presentation at Gorilla Base Camp on Thursday, August 2, at 1:30pm.

The sex of the infant gorilla will be revealed using dyed coconuts as part of the Zoo’s daily gorilla food toss. The inside of the fruits will be colored pink or blue to match the gender of the infant and given to the family troop to break apart during the presentation. In addition to being a tasty treat, coconuts are a type of animal enrichment used at the Zoo to help encourage natural behaviors.

Riverbanks invites guests to show off their choice on whether the infant is a boy or girl by wearing either pink or blue to the gender reveal.

The nearly two-month-old western lowland gorilla was born to mom Kazi and dad Cenzoo on June 4 and is the first gorilla infant to be raised at Riverbanks in the Zoo’s 44 year history. During the first few months of life, gorillas are in constant physical contact with their mothers. First-time mom Kazi often is seen nursing, grooming or just holding her infant.

“Recently, Kazi has been letting the infant sit between her legs and has attempted to carry it on her back,” said Emily Guertin, senior keeper of gorilla and small mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “We’ve also noticed that the infant’s grip is becoming stronger, so it’s moving around more.”

Young gorillas become more independent between 4 and 6 months of age and typically begin walking on all fours at about 4 to 5 months old.

“The infant is now starting to really notice its surroundings and has been seen reaching for bamboo or food that Kazi is eating,” Guertin said.

Guertin adds that Cenzoo, Macy and Acacia also have been interacting with the infant more. Kazi has allowed them to touch the infant but not hold it, and Cenzoo often is seen sitting by Kazi and the young gorilla.