It’s an exciting time to watch the gorilla troops at Regenstein Center for African Apes. While babies Patty and Nayembi have captivated visitors in Kwan’s group, the all-male bachelor troop on the building’s other end also provides plenty of engaging activity.
The four bachelor gorillas—juvenile males Azizi, Amare, Mosi and Umande—now live together 24 hours a day. But this living situation required a lot of careful work and planning on the part of our animal care experts.
You see, maturing male Azizi has grown much bigger than his groupmates. (Indeed, he looks more and more like his father, JoJo, who just welcomed a new baby over at Brookfield Zoo.) When the bachelors were first introduced, Azizi could be a bit too physical in asserting his dominance…although Mosi, Umande and Amare also played their part in egging him on.
Recognizing the dynamic, our caregivers at Regenstein Center for African Apes proceeded slowly with the group’s full introduction. Mosi, Umande and Amare lived together, developing their bond. At the same time, Azizi shared visual contact with the troop and was slowly introduced to his peers.
Partitions were set up along the bachelor troop’s indoor exhibit, providing the young gorillas a bit of privacy to work out their social dynamic. This strategy proved to be a success! The partitions have been down since September, and the bachelor troop now lives together around the clock, although Azizi chooses to take the occasional “day off” from his peers.
Another reintroduction is taking place with the gorilla family group at the building’s north end. The core family group—consisting of silverback Kwan, moms Bana and Rollie, and their babies, Patty and Nayembi—has been rejoined by females Susie and Bahati. This is an exciting development that restores the full group to its natural social structure.
It’s a good time for this reintroduction. Growing babies Patty and Nayembi are becoming more independent and assertive by the day, as anyone who’s seen them climbing through the exhibit can testify. Kwan, Rollie and Bana have also all had time together to become practiced parents.
Early signs have been positive, but the reintroduction is still a deliberate process. Partitions have been set up along the indoor exhibit to give the group some space to bond. Staff are monitoring the gorillas throughout the day, and infrared cameras are recording how they interact overnight. All these steps give our experts the information they need to ensure that everyone in the group is thriving, especially the babies.
It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for all the zoo’s gorillas. I encourage you to come by to see for yourself this weekend.
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!
Post from the President—Baby Gorillas Back on Exhibit
An Array of Apes