Sympathies to the Zoo Family

Life at a living institution isn’t always easy. Today, I’m deeply saddened to report that female gorilla Rollie delivered a stillborn gorilla last night at Regenstein Center for African Apes.

It’s a tough outcome for Rollie, her mate, Kwan, and the members of their troop. It’s equally devastating for the zoo’s dedicated animal care experts, who have spent months waiting to welcome this new arrival.

This was the first offspring Rollie has carried full-term. While the labor was uneventful, the offspring emerged unresponsive. To come to terms with the loss, Rollie held the stillborn until late this morning. Our animal care staff have reported that troop mates appear to be displaying special understanding and tenderness toward Rollie—particularly Bana, who lost an infant in November due to accidental head trauma. 

These losses, while unfortunate, aren’t uncommon. Experts report that 18–28 percent of western lowland gorillas don’t survive their first year. A necropsy is underway to determine what caused the stillbirth, but full results may not be known for several weeks.

Still, knowing that a loss may occur doesn’t make it any less difficult when it happens. My heart goes out to our zoo family. I ask you to keep them in your thoughts and continue to offer the heartfelt—and deeply appreciated—sympathy you’ve expressed so well of late.

Lincoln Park Zoo has always been a leader in gorilla conservation and care. Even as we mourn this loss, we will continue to work with zoos across the country to advance the well-being of this amazing species.

Thank you for your support,

Kevin Bell


So sad

What a terrible loss for all... thank you for sharing so graciously this sad event. Lincoln Park staff should be commended for their care and concern for the animals there, as well as for the community touched by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Sorry for the loss

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of the newborn Western Lowland Gorilla born to Rollie and Kwan. My family and I are scheduling a trip to Chicago this summer. We will make sure to drop by for a visit to your facilities.

Oh this is really sad news :(

Oh this is really sad news :(

Deeply saddened

So sorry for the loss! Such a tragedy. Prayers go out to the Lincoln Park Zoo staff, Rollie and Kwan.

Loss of baby gorilla (Rollie & Kwan)

I am so sad to read this news, especially only one week after losing Adelor. My deepest sympathy to the Zoo Staff and to Rollie and Kwan. I'm sure everyone who works there is heartbroken. I love the gorillas also, and have such respect for the way they live with their families. Humans could certainly learn a lot from them.

Again, so sorry for your loss.

Thinking of Rollie

That is very sad and I am sure Rollie is going through a difficult time with her loss of her baby! So sorry for the loss to all of us as well.


I am deeply saddened by the loss of Rollie's infant just as I was saddened by Bana's loss. I am in awe of the intelligence of the gorillas. We have much to learn from them/

So very sad

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Rollie and Kwan's troop and the wonderful and dedicated staff at RCAA.

A tragic loss

I am so very sorry to hear the sad news of the loss of precious Rollie's infant. My heart goes out to Rollie and each member of Kwan's wonderful troop of gorillas. My deepest condolences to all the wonderful, caring, most dedicated, and loving zookeepers and staff at RCAA.


This is such heartbreaking news! I was just at the zoo a few weeks back and am a frequent visitor. My condolences to the Gorilla family and the Zoo family that are just amazing and dedicated people.

so sad

So sorry for her loss. I was trying to find out if any updates on the gorilla that lost her newborn IN NOV....I was so sad as was able to see first hand the joy the mom had holding her baby....
I think about her all the time..any updates? Thanks,

Bana Update

Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy reports, "She is back to herself these days, enjoying playful moments with the troop’s other youngsters, Amare and Susie."


So very sorry to read about Rollie's loss, but am glad that she is recovering and has playful moments. She was always one to enjoy her playtime - I was fortunate to observe her behavior for my thesis when she was an infant - along with her sister, Mumbali, and surrogate, Debbie. Rollie has seen her share of sadness, but is in an incredibly healthy place with a wonderful, caring troop and zoo staff. I look forward to seeing her on my next visit. Thanks.

Bana & Rollie

I came to your website to get an update on how Bana is doing and saw the posting on Rollie, so sorry to hear about your loss at the zoo. Hopefully the staff will give them extra love and comfort during these hard moments. Your staff is amazing to take care of so many wonderful animals and our family is looking forward to our visit this summer!

Thank You

Thank you for the kind note. As always, animal care staff have done a great job giving Rollie and Bana the extra care they needed. Both gorillas are now doing well.

We're glad to hear you're visiting this summer--have a great time!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <div>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may insert videos with [video:URL]

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.