Lulu the western lowland gorilla is expecting!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Willie B.’s newest grandchild should arrive in spring 2013
Lulu the western lowland gorilla, who turns 13 on Wednesday, August 22, celebrates this year’s birthday with exciting news. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams have confirmed that she is expecting an infant in spring 2013.
The newborn will be Lulu’s first surviving offspring and the seventh for 23-year-old family leader Taz. Lulu is also the youngest daughter of the late Willie B.; her infant will join Macy Baby, 6, Gunther, 6, and Merry Leigh, 1, as one of the grandchildren of the legendary silverback.
The news of Lulu’s pregnancy is a bright spot for North America’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas, which recently lost one of its most cherished members. Ivan, a geriatric male with a life story that in many ways paralleled Willie B.’s, passed away on Monday, August 20, 2012, at the age of 50.
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. Habitat loss and poaching are the primary threats to wild populations, which may have declined by as much as 95 percent in some parts of Africa over the past two decades. Zoo Atlanta is a national center of excellence for the care and study of gorillas, with more than 120 published research papers authored or co-authored by Zoo Atlanta staff. In 2011, Zoo Atlanta received the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Edward H. Bean Award for Scientific Achievement in recognition of its long-term commitment to the species.
Lulu’s infant would be the 19th gorilla born at Zoo Atlanta since the opening of The Ford African Rain Forest in 1988. Stay tuned for updates as her pregnancy progresses.