Welcoming a New Gorilla Group

Get ready for some extra energy at Regenstein Center for African Apes! This summer, four young male gorillas will come together to form Lincoln Park Zoo’s first gorilla bachelor group.

As part of a recommendation by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan®, Lincoln Park Zoo gorillas Azizi (8) and Amare (6) will be joined by 6-year-olds Mosi and Umande, juveniles from Little Rock Zoo and Columbus Zoo respectively.

This grouping has its roots in the wild. In Africa, male gorillas typically leave their birth groups at 6–10 years of age—the time when the dominant silverback starts viewing the maturing males as rivals. These departing juveniles can organize in all-male bachelor groups to start their adult lives.

But why a bachelor group at Lincoln Park Zoo? For one thing, the zoo is a longtime leader in gorilla conservation and care. Beyond that, while male and female gorillas are born in equal numbers, each breeding group can only have one dominant male—the silverback. Bachelor groups let male gorillas experience a natural social structure without conflict over mates. They also expose visitors to a range of lively natural behaviors.

Juvenile gorilla Azizi, left, will be part of a new all-male bachelor group while silverback JoJo, right, will move to Brookfield Zoo for new breeding opportunities.

Juvenile gorilla Azizi, left, will be part of a new all-male bachelor group while silverback JoJo, right, will move to Brookfield Zoo for new breeding opportunities.

As part of this exciting change, we’ll be saying goodbye to some of our current gorillas. Female Tabibu will be heading to Columbus Zoo. Female Makari will be moving to Kansas City Zoo. And silverback JoJo will be moving across town to Brookfield Zoo, where he’ll be paired with new potential mates.

We’ll have a farewell event for all the departing gorillas on April 10—stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, visit our web site to learn more about bachelor groups and our energetic new arrivals.

Kevin Bell

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