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article imageBaby Western lowland gorilla born at the Toronto Zoo

By Igor I. Solar     Jan 12, 2014 in Environment
Toronto - Ngozi and Charles, the couple of critically endangered Western lowland gorillas, are the proud parents of a baby gorilla born last week at the Toronto Zoo. Mother and baby are doing well, but gender of the newborn has not yet been determined.
The natural habitats of Western lowland gorillas are forests and lowland swamps in central Africa including Angola, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Unfortunately, the wild populations of these gorillas are critically endangered. Among the main threats to their survival are infection with Ebola virus and illegal hunting. Other factors contributing to their decline are several human activities including farming, grazing and deforestation to allow for expanding human settlements. Now, most individuals of the sub-species Gorilla gorilla gorilla are found in zoos.
Ngozi, the mother, formerly a resident of Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, came to the Toronto Zoo in 2008 to meet and breed with Charles, originally from Gabon, West Africa, who has lived in Toronto since 1974. This is the couple's second child. In 2009 Ngozi gave birth to Nassir, a male, also Charles’ son and living with them at the Toronto Zoo.
Charles, the father, was born in the wild in September, 1972. It is said he was found lying next to the corpse of his dead mother just killed by a group of poachers. Charles turned out being a very successful reproductive male with several offspring now residing in Zoos in the United States and Canada. Before meeting Ngozi, he had sired Sekani (female born 1990); Jomo (male born 1991); Subira (male, 1995); Johari (female, 2001); Shalia (female, 2002), and Sadiki (male, 2005).
It is expected that the newborn baby, whether is a male or a female, may inherit some of Charles’ artistic traits. The father is known to be “an accomplished painter”. During a period of time between 1990 and 1998, Charles was provided large sheets of paper and non-toxic coloured paints. In a Toronto Zoo fund raising campaign for the development of a new gorilla exhibit, some of his works were exhibited and sold for $400 to $800 each at a private art gallery.
More about Western lowland gorilla, Ngozi and Charles, Toronto zoo, painting primate, Critically endangered species
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