Good News for Nayembi

How is Nayembi doing? That’s a question I hear often from friends of the zoo, eager to hear how the baby gorilla is recovering behind the scenes at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

The simple answer? Happily, she’s doing well. She continues to meet new milestones, climbing, crawling and trying her first solid foods. She’s still receiving around-the-clock care from our animal experts. To help keep Nayembi in her wild context, our caregivers do their best gorilla imitations, mimicking the grunts, play and eating patterns of the family group led by silverback Kwan.

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

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

Even as Nayembi receives constant nurturing and care, you’ll notice we haven’t offered a stream of photos with the baby gorilla interacting with humans. There’s a good reason for that. Research by one of our leading scientists, Fisher Center Director Steve Ross, has shown that people who see images of humans and apes sharing space are less likely to consider these amazing animals to be endangered.

The fact is, western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. As zoos across the country work together to conserve them, their wild populations declining due to habitat loss and hunting. As proud as we are of the care on display, we can’t do anything to undermine the notion that gorillas need protecting.

What’s next for Nayembi? While our caregivers have done a great job imitating gorillas, the baby has recently been able to get some much-needed exposure to actual gorillas. Nayembi’s mom, Rollie, and our other mom-and-baby pair, Bana and Patty, have shifted their living arrangements to have constant access behind the scenes. They’re physically separated from Nayembi, but they can go see her whenever they want. They often do, giving the little one the important opportunity to see and smell her family.

Nayembi explores her exhibit before the rest of her group comes out for the day.

Our ultimate goal is to fully reintroduce Nayembi back to her family group. Our animal care experts are making all the adjustments to ensure she can be fully cared for, monitored and fed while on exhibit. Hopefully we’ll be there soon. When we are, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Kevin Bell

Make a Difference

Although Nayembi is receiving expert care around the clock, we’ve had lots of people ask how they can help.

Share the Care
Although Nayembi is receiving expert care around the clock, we’ve had lots of people ask how they can help. In response, we've added a few items to our ongoing Wish List program to support Nayembi as she recovers.

Past Updates

Baby gorilla Nayembi is recovering under the expert attention of zoo veterinarians and caregivers.

Positive Steps for Nayembi
President and CEO Kevin Bell updates us on the recovery of baby gorilla Nayembi. In the latest milestone in her healing, she's moved to Regenstein Center for African Apes, living near her family behind the scenes.


Nayembi update

It's hard to believe Nayembi is 6mo old already. Thank you for keeping us updated - the video of her, exploring her environment, is so precious...she can really get around, although that broccoli may have got the better of her. Can't wait to have the family back together. You all have done an absolutely amazing job - and with a previously unexplored situation. As horrible as this has been, it has been a great learning experience for all and you are to be applauded for your work!

Thank You for Your Kind Comment

The strong support of the zoo's committed friends has made this challenging time much easier.


Interesting! That's great news!


speed recovery little baby!

Nayembi looks wonderful! She

Nayembi looks wonderful! She has received such great and loving care.

I am glad Nayembi is

I am glad Nayembi is thriving. And thank you for the great work you are doing for these endangered species. My goal is to do something similar in the near future. Helping animal is the most rewarding experience for me. And if anyone has doubts gorillas are in danger of extinction, they can refer to a great article on National Geographic.

Re: Nayembi

Thank you for your note--we're glad Nayembi is thriving also! We're similarly proud to support the conservation of wild gorillas through the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project.

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