Baby Gorilla Press Materials

Tickled Pink – Baby Gorilla is a Girl

Chicago (Nov. 12, 2012) – Lincoln Park Zoo is tickled pink to confirm their newest adorable edition, an endangered western lowland gorilla, is a girl. She is named Patty. 

Born on October 11, Patty’s mother Bana has cradled her closely and carefully. So closely, in fact, that it has taken the zoo’s animal care staff some time to get a close enough look at the infant to confidently confirm she is a girl.

“Bana is being a really great mom. She is doing exactly what we hoped she would do which is tenderly cuddle, nurse and care for her baby,” explained Maureen Leahy, curator of primates at the zoo. “There has been no reason for animal care staff to handle the baby so we’ve just had to wait patiently for Bana to give us a close look at the infant.” 

Once the zoo could confidently confirm the gorilla is female they were able to christen her with a name. “She is named Patty in honor of Patty Meyers, mother of Sally Meyers Kovler and mother-in-law of Jonathan Kovler, a Lincoln Park Zoo Life Trustee,” said Lincoln Park Zoo President & CEO Kevin Bell.  “The Kovler family is a long-standing and exceptionally generous supporter of Lincoln Park Zoo and its animals and facilities.”

The zoo is renowned for its scientific work with gorillas using computer touchscreens to communicate with apes to gain a better understanding about how they process information. Lincoln Park Zoo is the only place in the world conducting touchscreen studies like these with both gorillas and chimpanzees.

Interestingly, zoo staff has witnessed one major behavioral change in Bana since becoming a new mom – she now wants to engage with the zoo’s animal behavior and cognition scientists. Something she never seemed interested in before. 

“Before having Patty, Bana showed little interest in the computers, but recently she has started voluntarily engaging and seems interested to participate. It’s exciting,” said Leahy. “It is also common for adult gorilla females with a new infant to start elevating their status within the social hierarchy, and I think Bana is doing just that. Since Patty was born, Bana has been more confident about approaching the researchers, and not necessarily deferring to the more dominant individuals who typically like to monopolize the computer.”

The gorilla family can be seen daily at the Regenstein Center for African Apes from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each day at 1:30 p.m. the gorillas participate in a training or computer cognition session which members of the public can observe. Visit for more information about this unique opportunity to observe animal care and science in action. 


Media Contacts

Sharon Dewar
(312) 742-2246                       


  Tiffany Ruddle
(312) 742-5791




Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic landmark founded in 1868, is dedicated to connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience. A leader in conservation science both globally and locally, the zoo exemplifies the highest quality animal care and educational outreach. The not-for-profit zoo, managed by The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, is a member-supported organization and one of the nation’s only free, privately managed zoos. For more information, call 312 -742-2000 or visit


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Photos credited to John Kortas/Lincoln Park Zoo

Photos credited to Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo


Photos credited to Tony Gnau/Lincoln Park Zoo