Positive Steps for Nayembi

Baby gorilla Nayembi continues to meet welcome milestones in recovering from last month’s injury. The latest saw her return to Regenstein Center for African Apes, where she’s healing behind the scenes within full view of her family group.

Overall, the progress of the last couple weeks has been amazing. As you can see, Nayembi’s face has regained much of its normal color. The good news isn’t limited to appearances either, as she continues to show a hearty appetite for food—and play!

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

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

Given her recovery, our expert veterinarians decided to move Nayembi back to Regenstein Center for African Apes on March 13. She’s living in her normal behind-the-scenes space, next to her family group, where animal care staff continue to provide around-the-clock care.

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of energy to care for a baby gorilla. Our animal care staff are trying to be more gorilla than human, mimicking the behaviors and routines of Nayembi’s troop. They rest, play, grunt, explore and eat on the gorillas’ established schedules.

Nayembi continues to show plenty of energy as she plays behind the scenes.

Nayembi continues to show plenty of energy as she plays behind the scenes.

One major benefit of the move to Regenstein Center for African Apes is that it’s made possible visual contact between Nayembi, her mother, Rollie, and the rest of the gorilla troop led by silverback Kwan. Caregivers report that Rollie shows a lot of interest in the baby and is keen to watch the little one move and play.

While Rollie and Nayembi are spending time just a couple of feet apart, we’re still holding off on physical contact between the two. Like any mother, Rollie will want to groom and inspect the baby, which could mean potentially touching her face in areas that are still in the healing process. Right now our focus remains on the baby’s daily checkups and around-the-clock care.

These are positive steps, though, ones we’re very happy to witness. I’ll be sure to keep you informed as Nayembi continues her recovery.

Kevin Bell

Make a Difference

Zoological Manager Michael Brown-Palsgrove is part of the around-the-clock care for baby gorilla Nayembi.

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

Zoological Manager of Primates Michael Brown-Palsgrove and Lester E. Fisher Director of Veterinary Medicine Kathryn Gamble, D.V.M., care for Nayembi behind the scenes at the zoo's C.H. "Doc" Searle, M.D. Animal Hospital.

Healing Underway
Baby gorilla Nayembi is getting expert care and plenty of play as she heals behind the scenes at the zoo’s animal hospital.




This is so encouraging. Thank you for keeping us closely informed. Can't wait to see everyone, the troop, back together again...You all ROCK!


Interesting! I'm glad to hear that Nayembi is recovering nicely.

Hoorah for Baby Nayembi!

What wonderful news! It's marvelous that Rollie can view her daughter's progress and development. LPZ caretakers are the best!


Wonderful news - thanks for sharing. And thanks for posting pictures so we can see how well she looks. What a relief. I am so pleased that she is back in RCAA; at least she is close to her family, if in a "safe zone". Thanks for all the good care!

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Your support makes a big difference!


Kudos to all the wonderful people who have contributed to Nayembi's successful recovery! So happy to hear that she is doing well.


Put a camera for a live feed for members only. This would be a great marketing tool to increase membership. The apes are so interesting people would love to see them in there habitat.

Thanks for the Idea

We'll be sure to pass it along!

Thank you!

Nayembi is beautiful!!! I am so happy to hear that whatever happened will receive 100% recovery! What a blessing the new ones are!!! I know it is next to impossible for them to reproduce in the wild! Thank you for making chicago famous for it!!! God Bless you and the gorillas always!!! Peace and Love to KWAN!!! Hats off to the caretakers!!


This is an inspirational story. Is she cute or what?

Re: Nayembi

Glad you enjoyed it! We agree--she's very cute.

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