As you know, big changes are in store for Lincoln Park Zoo’s gorillas. We’re excited to welcome a new bachelor group this summer. We’ll also be bidding farewell to some familiar faces next week.
Silverback gorilla JoJo does a voluntarily dental display for Brookfield Zoo Keeper Danielle Fogarty and Lincoln Park Zoo Lead Keeper Dominic Calderisi.
As the zoo welcome the changes, it’s important to note that none of these moves are made lightly. All have been recommended by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan®, which is responsible for ensuring the long-term health of this endangered species. Each transfer is accompanied by careful planning as we prepare these amazing animals for new caregivers and new homes.
In the case of JoJo, for instance, zookeepers from Brookfield Zoo have been traveling to Lincoln Park Zoo since March to acclimate the silverback to his new caregivers. Working side-by-side with our keepers, they’ve walked JoJo through his care regimen, including behaviors like opening his mouth for a dental checkup. (JoJo’s favorite rewards were reserved for the Brookfield keepers, which hasn’t hurt the getting-to-know-you process.) Similarly, staff from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Kansas City Zoo have traveled to Chicago to get to know Tabibu and Makari and begin building a positive relationship with these animals.
Juvenile gorillas Azizi and Amare have also been prepped for life together in a bachelor group, with animal care staff introducing them for “play dates” behind the scenes. In a neutral space, away from parents, both wore themselves out with a good 45 minutes of play…a preview of what guests will see this summer.
With these moves in mind, I’d like to invite you to Regenstein Center for African Apes next Tuesday, April 10, to say farewell to Tabibu, Makari and JoJo. The goodbye party, which starts at 10 a.m., will feature an ice cake and edible banner as well as a card for well wishes. Learn more online—or leave a farewell message for the gorillas on our website.
I hope to see you there. As always, I’ll keep you posted.