Over the past month, we’ve carefully watched the baby gorilla adapt to life at Regenstein Center for African Apes. Now, thanks to some especially careful watching on the part of animal care staff, we’re happy to announce the new arrival is a girl!
Gorilla baby Patty peeks out from behind mom Bana.
Because the little one spends so much time nestled in mom Bana’s arms, it’s taken some extra observation to pinpoint the sex. That’s a happy reason for delay. Bana has been an attentive, nurturing mother, and the rest of the gorilla group—while curious—has given mom and baby the space they need to bond and thrive.
Mom Bana holds baby Patty while eating a healthy snack.
So now that we know the sex, what can you call the baby? We’re honoring some great friends of the zoo by naming her Patty. The name is a tribute to Patty Meyers, mother of Sally Meyers Kovler and mother-in-law of Jonathan Kovler, a Lincoln Park Zoo Life Trustee. The family is a long-standing supporter of Lincoln Park Zoo and its animals and facilities. Indeed, you may recognize the name from the Kovler Lion House and Kovler Sea Lion Pool.
As for young Patty, she continues to grow and change every day. Caregivers and zoo scientists steadily monitor her and the rest of the group. They’ve already made one exciting observation since the birth: Bana is now participating in touch-screen cognitive research sessions, something she’s never done before.
Researchers think Bana’s new interest may stem from a boost in status that comes with having a baby. Before she would defer as higher-ranking members monopolized the touch-screens. Now she seems secure in moving up to explore them herself.
These are the types of questions we can explore by having world-class research and care go hand-in-hand at Regenstein Center for African Apes. I look forward to sharing more updates soon. But in the meantime, I encourage you to visit the baby if you haven’t already…and if you have, come again to see how she’s changed!
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