Culture / Entertainment

Rare Baby Gorilla Born at Fort Worth Zoo — and the Party’s Just Getting Started

Critically Endangered Western Lowland Gorillas to be Part of Zoo's 30th Anniversary Celebration

BY // 11.10.22

The Fort Worth Zoo was founded in 1909. Only one lion, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock, two bear cubs, and a few rabbits were on display when it first opened. The zoo continued to grow over the intervening years ― managed by the City of Fort Worth up until 1991. That’s when the Fort Worth Zoological Association (FWZA) took the reins and over the past 30 years, the North Texas zoo has become an award-winning research and conservation hub. It’s a showplace on par with the best zoos in the country, if not the world.

As the 30th anniversary of what was touted as “The New Zoo in ’92” is celebrated, the Fort Worth Zoo is welcoming an important new arrival. The second-ever birth of a Western lowland gorilla at the zoo. The male primate was born early Sunday morning  to parents Gracie and Elmo.

“The yet-to-be-named ape is staying close to his mother as he meets other troop members and gets acclimated to his surroundings in the Zoo’s World of Primates habitat,” Fort Worth Zoo director of marketing Avery Elander says. “The pair continues to bond but are also fully integrated into the troop, mimicking family dynamics in the wild.

“He can be seen in both indoor or outdoor areas of the habitat at various times during the day, which will be dictated by weather conditions and his activity level.”

Western lowland gorillas are listed as a critically endangered species ― the decline is attributed to hunting and disease. Making matters even more dire, gorillas also have a very low reproductive rate, which means it could take decades for population recovery to occur even under the best circumstances.

“The Zoo participates in a cooperative breeding program for gorillas that maintains a healthy, self-sustaining population of the vulnerable species to help prevent their extinction,” Elander says.

The Fort Worth Zoo is celebrating the birth of its second lowland gorilla.
The Fort Worth Zoo is celebrating the birth of its second lowland gorilla.

That makes the birth of the new gorilla not only an achievement but yet another reason for celebration during this milestone year for this Fort Worth jewel.

The new baby lowland gorilla will be part of a special 30th Anniversary Festival next Saturday, November 19. Zoo admission will be half-price that day and there will be live music, animal enrichment, programs, keeper chats and giveaways while supplies last.

“The Fort Worth Zoological Association’s dedication to conservation efforts have ensured that new generations of species around the world continue to thrive, while generations of families have enjoyed a world of animals right here in Fort Worth,” Elander says.

Ramona Bass – Dotes on two of the Fort Worth’s Zoo’s elephants in anticipation of their new habitat.
Ramona Bass dotes on two of the Fort Worth’s Zoo’s elephants in anticipation of their new habitat.

It’s no wonder the Fort Worth Zoo remains one of Fort Worth’s top attractions year after year. For the past 30 years, the upward trajectory of the zoo has been overseen by philanthropist and conservationist Ramona Bass, who serves as board chairman of the Fort Worth Zoological Association.

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