A Rapid Response

In the zoo world, much of our time is spent preparing for all the things that could happen. Curators stress every wrinkle of an animal introduction, caregivers run drills for each imaginable scenario, veterinarians spend countless hours honing vital skills.

As we’ve seen, all this preparation is crucial when something does happen. Such was the case recently at Regenstein Center for African Apes, where baby gorilla Nayembi suffered a serious facial injury last week.

Thankfully, the planning worked. Our Animal Care staff jumped into action, separating the 3-month-old infant with its mother from the rest of the group, as they’d practiced. Our veterinary staff was prepped for surgery soon after, and I’m happy to report the baby gorilla seems to be in stable condition behind the scenes at the zoo’s C.H. “Doc” Searle, M.D. Animal Hospital.

Her recovery isn’t a certainty—we find few certainties with such fragile infants, nearly a quarter of whom don’t make it through their first year of life. But she’s playing throughout the day and getting plenty of sleep, just like an infant should. These are good signs.

We aren’t sure precisely what caused the injury, although it appears to have been inflicted by another gorilla. We can say there were no prior indications of aggression in the gorilla troop.

What’s next? Zoo staff have redoubled group monitoring to ensure a stable environment for the other members, which includes Nayembi’s mother, Rollie, and the group’s other infant, Patty, who remains in the capable hands of mom Bana. Nayembi will continue to receive full-time care over the next months as she recovers away from her group.

It’s been a difficult few days, filled with worry for everyone at the zoo. As we reflect on the complexity of caring for wild animals, we’re comforted by our comprehensive planning. We prepared for this sad, unlikely possibility. This preparation let us react with the speed and expertise necessary to give Nayembi the care she needed.

We’ll continue to provide updates as Nayembi recovers. We all hope for the best—and will work around the clock to ensure it.

Kevin Bell


Best wishes

This news makes me very sad. My family has enjoyed watching her grow week after week and I we wish Nayembi and the troop all the best.

Thank You

We appreciate your thoughtful comment.

Well Done RCAA and Vet Staff

I have no doubt Nayembi is in good hands. Best wishes for her recovery and keep your spirits high all.


I hope this little darling continues to heal. Kwan and His Family need her back - and healthy! Thanks to Dr Gamble and her staff and Dominic C and staff for all they do.

Future Parental Care

I wonder if Bana should take care of both babies for a while? Anyway, get well soon Nayembi, And, great going RCAA and Vet. staff.

Great Job!

Interesting! I'm glad that Nayembi is doing well.

Thank You

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. We appreciate them!

Get Well Soon Nayembi

My granddaughter, Sadie and I will miss little Nayembi's sweet face and antics on our weekly visits. Glad we got some awesome photos of her the last time we were out!
Is reintroduction tough after her recovery time? Will Rollie recognize her...and vice versa? Get well soon, little girl!

Good Questions

Right now they're focused on Nayembi's recovery, but our animal care experts will soon begin to explore them.

Get well sweet baby Nayembi.

My grand children and I have been missing you and look forward to your speedy recovery! Best wishes!

Thanks for keeping us updated

The gorilla troop is my favorite at the zoo. I'm so glad she's on the road to recovery and hope it continues so. You do such good work with the gorillas. If it had to happen, she's fortunate to have the care she receives at LP Zoo. Please keep the updates coming.

To RCAA staff & baba Nayembi

Here's hoping for a speedy recovery for baby Nayembi. Good job staff. My thoughts are with you as well.

great response

I'm shocked that the response was so quick

Nice Work and thanks for update!

Wow, you all must be very proud of the work you are doing. While I am sure the best scenario is a no injury environment...this scene was certainly a second best! Thanks

Great move!

It's worth an investment to train and prepare the staffs for proper care at the environment and so as the animal species as well. The welfare of everyone is important, and these kind of exercises that the zoo is dedicated in providing the best care for animals and their artificial habitat.



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