Baby Gorilla Nayembi Thriving

Western lowland gorilla Nayembi, who was injured in February, is thriving under 24-hour care by Lincoln Park Zoo animal care staffers working to reunite her with her troop.

(Chicago – May 8, 2013)  “Our priority has always been to get Nayembi back with her mother, Rollie, and the rest of the troop,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy. “Over the past few months, Nayembi has been achieving important milestones in order to make that happen. She is a healthy weight, is experimenting with solid foods, and is acting just like a gorilla baby should.”

Speaking of acting, Lincoln Park Zoo’s animal care staff has done their fair share of it. Staffers have assumed the role of fellow gorilla group mates in order to set six-month-old Nayembi up for success when she is ultimately placed back with her troop. That includes donning a furry vest for the baby to cling to, grumbling like an ape, and even climbing around the gorilla enclosure with Nayembi along for the ride.

“Gorilla infants are not human babies, and we can’t treat them as such,” said Director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes Steve Ross. “It is important to us that people understand these are wild, endangered animals, and that is why Lincoln Park Zoo has decided not to show behind-the-scenes images of Nayembi with keepers.”

Animal care staffers are hopeful that it will not be long before the public can see Nayembi back on exhibit with all eight members of her troop.



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 Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo