Baby Gorillas Back on Exhibit

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m happy to share that visitors can once again see our two baby gorillas—females Nayembi and Patty—at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

Baby gorilla Nayembi on exhibit with mom Rollie at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

Baby gorilla Nayembi on exhibit with mom Rollie at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

The little ones have largely been behind the scenes in recent months as Nayembi recovered from a February injury. Since April, Nayembi’s mom, Rollie, and mother-and-infant pair Bana and Patty have spent much of their time off exhibit, the first step in visually reacclimating Nayembi to her troopmates. In July these four gorillas were physically reunited out of public view. And just yesterday they were all reintroduced to silverback Kwan in the main family exhibit at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

This is a happy step and a true testament to the commitment of the zoo’s animal care experts. But it’s still a work in progress.

Keepers will be monitoring the group around the clock for the next week to keep a close eye on the transition. If it’s in Nayembi’s best interest, the building may even close periodically to allow her and her family some alone time.

Even now, after the promising start, we’ve installed barriers around the exhibit to give the apes some extra privacy. Female troop members Bahati and Susie will remain separate for the time being, either given the choice to be in the adjacent “howdy” area or outside in their yard. While the ultimate plan is to integrate the full group, the reintroduction process will continue to follow whatever pace is needed to ensure everyone’s well-being.

With due caution in place, this is a very exciting development. Even when Nayembi was separated from the group during her recovery, Kwan was still able to see, smell and hear the baby gorilla every day. He’s shown a sustained interest in the baby, much as he’s shown appropriate parenting behaviors with past offspring. Now they’re together, and Nayembi is being raised in the best circumstances—under the care of her natural family.

Nayembi reaches for a bit of browse as Rollie stretches out nearby.

Nayembi reaches for a bit of browse as Rollie stretches out nearby.

Come say hello to the gorilla babies this weekend. I’ll keep you informed as Nayembi and the other gorillas navigate this welcome transition.

Kevin Bell


Past Updates

Nayembi Reunited
Baby gorilla Nayembi has been reintroduced to her mom, Rollie, and mother-and-daughter pair Bana and Patty behind the scenes at Regenstein Center for African Apes. As this video shows, the group, including Nayembi and Rollie, are getting along well!

See Baby Nayembi Crawl Around Her Exhibit
Western lowland gorilla Nayembi, who was injured in February, is thriving under 24-hour care by Lincoln Park Zoo animal care staff and will soon be reunited with her troop. As you can see, the 6-month-old gorilla is trying new foods, exploring her enclosure, and getting lessons in how to act like an ape.

Baby gorilla Nayembi continues to grow--and heal--behind the scenes at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

Good News for Nayembi
President and CEO Kevin Bell shares how baby gorilla Nayembi continues to grow--and heal--behind the scenes at Regenstein Center for African Apes. As you can see, the 6-month-old gorilla is trying new foods, exploring her enclosure and getting lessons in how to act like an ape.

Two gorilla moms at Regenstein Center for African Apes. Bana and Patty are in the foreground while Rollie and the new baby are in the background.

A Second Gorilla Baby
President and CEO Kevin Bell shares the season’s second baby gorilla at Regenstein Center for African Apes!



Baby Gorillas

Interesting! I hope that everyone's weekend was both great and safe,having a good week and has another good weekend, plus I also hope that they have a nice Martin Luther King,Jr. Day! That goes for last year and all the other years that I've missed.

Great News!

Great News!
So glad she & the family are back together again.
Job well done LPZ!

Hi Mom, I thought you might

Hi Mom,
I thought you might appreciate this news : )



Comment On Kwan The Gorilla

I was going on your website and I saw a pic of Kwan, and it mentioned he's one of the most popular animals at the zoo and people flock to see him. I was shocked when I read it mentioned he weighs 375 pounds, that's awfully thin for him, I remember he used to weigh around 440 pounds and I thought that was a bit thin for him, but it's much better than 375. He's tall and should weigh around 475 at least, not 375. Is he sick or are they deliberately trying to keep his weight very thin, cause that's clearly way underweight for most male gorillas, it's seems to be that they're overdoing thinning him out too much, it's not healthy or natural. You guys should really re-evaluate your ideologies about male gorilla weights, cause 375 ain't average, it's considerably below average. I just don't get this new mind set that these zoo's have about these male gorillas weights nowadays, they're are thinning them out more and more and far too much, it used to be an average male was around 450-500 pounds , which was much more accurate, now it seems they don't even want them weighing even in the 400's, that's really ridiculous. I know it's cause they're worried about heart disease, but they get that from many other reasons much more so than being overweight, around 95% of the reasons they get heart disease is from other reasons than being overweight and have nothing to do with the animals being overweight. The main reasons many males in captivity get it, is from: It's not their natural environment, stress, depression, not the same type of diet as in the wild, allergies, picking up germs and bacterias in and around their exhibits, breeding, genes, natural old age, and also gorillas being the largest of all the great apes are more naturally prone to heart and other health related issues, much similar to those large dog breeds, they naturally are more prone to heart and other health related issues and don't live as long as medium and smaller dog breeds typically, and gorillas are similar in that way to larger dog breeds, and don't typically live as long as orangutans and chimps. You guys should seriously re-evaluate this mindset you have about these guys weights, cause your causing them to be too thin and unhealthy. Lastly, there is an extreme misconception that in the wild they don't weigh as much as captivity, but that is totally not true, especially with the larger species of gorillas, like the mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas, both whom are much larger than the western lowland gorillas and many weigh in the 5 and 600's, especially the eastern lowland males typically weigh at least 550 pounds and max out at 650-700 pounds. I've even seen pics of some real huge wild western males that were close to 600 pounds or more, so they too can grow very large too, and as I said they were wild males not captive. Those books deliberately curb those wild males weights down greatly for the zoos, so the zoos keep their males weights down and won't appear like they are underfeeding them and keeping them too thin, also to make gorillas look less huge and king kong like and ferocious and more closer to humans so people won't be afraid of them and will see them as more human like and feel sorry for them and give money to help them out, which many of these gorilla organizations just pocket for themselves anyhow, also so they can make them look more human like so they can seem more closely related to people and they can say people are descended from apes which isn't true, and lastly, so they can make them appear less physically impressive so poachers and hunters won't be as interested in collecting them since they like to target the very largest specimens and this way they'll look less attractive to them to hunt and collect.

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