It’s been a big year at Busch Gardens! First there was a baby aardvark…now, they’ve got a bouncing baby boy gorilla!
BABY GORILLA BORN AT BUSCH GARDENS
Tampa, Fla. – A male endangered western lowland gorilla was born at Busch Gardens® Tampa on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 11:35 a.m. The baby is healthy and is currently being cared for by first-time mother Pele, with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely.
This is the second successful gorilla birth at Busch Gardens and brings to six the number of gorillas in the park’s Myombe Reserve habitat, a 3-acre rainforest environment that opened in 1992. Bolingo, the suspected sire, was the park’s first gorilla birth in 2005. The mother, Pele, came to Busch Gardens in February 2010 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. The baby gorilla, along with the rest of the gorilla troupe, can be seen on the Myombe Reserve habitat in the coming days.
This birth is part of the park’s partnership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to cooperatively manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species populations within AZA-accredited facilities. Western lowland gorillas are an endangered species.
Since 2004, Busch Gardens has supported the study of western lowland gorillas being conducted in the remote region of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in Africa’s northern Congo through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. Coordinated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the study’s focus on the rarely seen ecology and social behavior of the lowland gorilla is resulting in ground-breaking data on this fascinating and endangered species.
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Busch Gardens is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™, a leading theme park and entertainment company that delivers personal, interactive and educational experiences that blend imagination with nature. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is best known for its 11 U.S. theme parks, attractions that hosted more than 24 million guests in 2012. Each of these theme parks offers a distinct entertainment experience that connects guests to the world and to one another.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ also is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a worldwide leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for one of the largest animal collections on the North American continent and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations.