Gorilla Debut

Welcome Back Baby! Zoo Visitors See Gorilla Baby, Nayembi, Again at Lincoln Park Zoo

After months of behind-the-scenes care, recovery and reintroduction to her family, baby gorilla Nayembi is reintroduced to zoo visitors Thursday

Chicago (August 22, 2013) – Visitors to Lincoln Park Zoo on August 22 were offered the first opportunity since February to see baby gorilla, Nayembi who was born in November. For the past several months she has been housed and cared for behind-the-scenes at the zoo following an injury that required special attention. Last month she was reunited with her mother and two other gorilla troop members including baby gorilla Patty who is just one month older than Nayembi. They have been getting reacquainted in private.

In her latest milestone earlier this week, Nayembi was reintroduced to her father, silverback gorilla Kwan. This is the first time they have been in the habitat together since February, and the zoo’s animal care team reports the reunion was well received by all.

On Thursday, zoo visitors were able to watch Nayembi together with her gorilla family for the first time since winter. She should be on exhibit from now on pending all continues to go well with the integration process.  

“Nayembi is doing remarkably well, and the careful reintroduction process has gone according to plan for all of them so far,” explained Maureen Leahy, curator of primates at Lincoln Park Zoo. “The process is delicate. We are watching the gorillas’ behavior closely and their behavior guides our timing and decisions about reintroduction.”

Leahy added that integrating Nayembi back with her gorilla family is the very best thing for her.

Eventually two other females from the original troop, Susie and Bahati, will be reintegrated into the group with the babies. For now, they are living right next door to the group as the meticulous process of gorilla reintroduction continues.

Regenstein Center for African Apes opened to the public today at 1 p.m. Tomorrow, exhibit hours return to normal from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekends through Labor Day. 

Media Contacts:       

Sharon Dewar                     

(312) 742-2246                    

Tiffany Ruddle
(312) 742-5791


Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic Chicago 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 www.lpzoo.org


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Photos and Video credited to Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo August 21, 2013