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Second Infant Gorilla Born at Riverbanks

For Immediate Release: October 17, 2018

[Columbia, SC] — Riverbanks Zoo and Garden’s western lowland gorilla troop has expanded. An infant was born to mom Macy and dad Cenzoo shortly after 1:15pm on Wednesday, October 17, growing the family group to six.

“The first 72-hours post-partum are the most critical; however, both mom and infant appear to be doing well,” said Sue Pfaff, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “The baby’s eyes are open, the infant looks alert, and the entire family troop is adapting well to the newest member.”

With only an estimated 100,000 western lowland gorillas remaining in the wild, the birth is a significant addition to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan® (SSP) and sustainability of the species. For nearly 40 years, SSPs have ensured the continued existence of endangered animals through breeding and transfer plans among AZA-accredited facilities. There are currently about 350 lowland gorillas being cared for in North American zoos.

Macy’s half-sister Kazi also delivered a healthy infant back in June. The nearly 5-month-old gorilla was the first to be raised at Riverbanks in the Zoo’s 44-year history.

“We are so excited for Macy,” Pfaff said. “The loss of her first infant last May was heartbreaking, but we knew in our hearts that she would have the opportunity to be a mother again, and we are thrilled to share this with the community.”

Gorillas usually give birth to one offspring at a time following a gestation period of about 8.5 months. Infants typically stay close to mom until they are weaned at about three years old.

Western lowland gorillas are found in the tropical rainforests of West Africa. They live on mountain floors and secondary forests with damp, hot climates, similar to a South Carolina summer. In the wild, gorillas feed on plants, leaves, bark, stems, roots, vines and bamboo.

Gorilla Base Camp will be closed to guests for the next several days while the family troop enjoys time together indoors. Guests, however, will have an opportunity to see Patrick, Riverbanks’ other male silverback, on exhibit daily.