The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

5 YO Gorilla Orphan is Adjusting Well at Bristol Zoo Gardens

By Lucy Parkinson

Bristol, UK -One year after arriving at her new home at Bristol Zoo Gardens, orphan gorilla, Kera, has come a long way.

After being rejected by her mother at Barcelona Zoo in 2004, Kera was hand-reared alongside other young gorillas at a specialist ape nursery in Germany.

Last September Kera was old enough to leave the nursery and a new home needed to be found for her. Bristol Zoo Gardens was chosen as the best place for her because it has the facilities and expert staff for an expanding group of gorillas.

Now five-years-old, Kera has been at Bristol Zoo for a year, learning how to live alongside Bristol Zoo’s family of western lowland gorillas: Jock the 220kg (34 stone) adult male, Salome and Romina the two adult females, four-year-old Namoki and little Komale, who is two.

It has been a long and steady process of integration for Kera, involving late nights and early starts for the Zoo’s gorilla keepers as they helped her settle in.

Assistant Curator of Mammals, Mel Gage, explains: “When Kera arrived here she didn’t know how to fit into a gorilla family. She needed to learn about gorilla social structures and etiquette. The aim was to help her learn how to be a fully socialised gorilla in a family group situation, to help her develop valuable skills for the future.

“Now she has really started to mature; she knows how to behave and interact with the other gorillas. She understands that gorilla families have a hierarchy and she understands her place within the family.”

Mel said Kera’s settling in has been helped by the fact that she has made a great alliance with the dominant adult female gorilla, Romina, as well as becoming ‘friends’ with the two youngest gorillas – Namoki and Komale.

Mel added: “We always knew the process of introducing Kera to the other gorillas would be a long and sensitive one, but what we have achieved is huge. Kera has learned so much from the other gorillas and we are thrilled with the results and the way the group have accepted her. It’s great that Romina keeps an eye on Kera, and it’s lovely to see her playing with the other youngsters out on Gorilla Island.”

Kera’s move to Bristol Zoo Gardens was recommended as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, managed by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).

Dr Bryan Carroll, deputy director at Bristol Zoo, said: “It is really important that Kera integrates into a group and understands gorilla society. She should then go on to become a successful breeding female contributing to the breeding programme for this critically endangered species”

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild. They come from an area of dense forest and swamp which covers South East Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

Their native forests are being exploited for timber, which opens up routes into the forest providing easier access to hunters who kill gorillas for bushmeat and trophies.

Since 1998, Bristol Zoo Gardens has supported Ape Action Africa (AAA), a registered charity working to care for orphans of the illegal bushmeat trade and prevent primate extinction in Cameroon.

Adoption shares in Bristol Zoo’s gorilla family are available to buy. By adopting you will be contributing towards the upkeep of the animals at the zoo and supporting field conservation of threatened species.

For more information visit the zoo website at or phone 0117 974 7300.

Bristol Zoo Gardens

· Bristol Zoo is open from 9am every day except Christmas Day.

· The Zoo is an Education and Conservation Charity and relies on the income from visitors to support its work.

· The Zoo is involved with more than 100 co-ordinated breeding programmes for threatened wildlife species.

· It employs 140 full and part-time staff to care for the animals and run a successful visitor attraction to support its conservation and education work.

· Bristol Zoo supports – through finance and skill sharing - over 10 projects in the UK and abroad that conserve and protect some of the world’s most endangered species.

· Bristol Zoo is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

· BIAZA represents more than 90 member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums.

· Bristol Zoo’s gorilla family are available to see on the internet via the Zoo’s gorilla webcam. Simply visit and follow the ‘Bristol Zoo TV’ link on the homepage.

Bristol Zoo Gardens and gorilla conservation
· Since 1998, Bristol Zoo Gardens has supported Ape Action Africa (AAA), a registered charity working to prevent primate extinction in West Africa.

· Ape Action Africa runs a rescue centre at Mvog Betsi Zoo in conjunction with the Cameroon Ministry for Wildlife and Forestry as well as a sanctuary at Mefou National Park offering a safe home for the orphaned animals in its care, as close to their natural environment as possible.

· Reintroduction of the apes is planned for the future. Since 2004 Bristol Zoo has also been working with communities around the Dja Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site in Cameroon and an important protected area for apes, to reduce hunting of gorillas and chimpanzees around the villages.

· Dr Bryan Carroll, deputy director at Bristol Zoo Gardens, is chairman of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Bushmeat Working Group which organised the campaign to halt the illegal commercial bushmeat trade.

· Dr Bryan Carroll, together with other representatives, presented a 1.9 million signature petition to the European Parliament in Brussels in 2001.

· In January 2004, the European Parliament voted in favour of a resolution to tackle the unsustainable trade in bushmeat.

To view Bristol Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:


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