Seal of Little Rock

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Thursday, May 19, 2016

City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421


Media Releases

Contact(s): L. Lamor Williams | 501-661-7201 | llwilliams@littlerock.gov


Male gorilla joins Zoo family

LITTLE ROCK (May 12, 2016) – He’s been in the neighborhood for less than 24 hours but the ladies have already taken notice. Kivu the western lowland gorilla arrived late Wednesday afternoon to join the Little Rock Zoo’s all-female troop.

The 24-year-old silverback will spend 30 days in quarantine. During this time he will be able to see, hear and smell the females. After quarantine, he will be introduced to the group and out with them for public viewing. 

“It’s important that we ensure new animals are healthy,” said Zoo Director Mike Blakely. “Once we’re sure there’s no risk of disease transmission between the animals, we need to observe them to determine how they’ll interact with each other. Just like humans, animals have personalities and you don’t want to confine animals that don’t get along in an exhibit.” 

Kivu comes to the Little Rock from the Santa Barbara Zoo where he was part of a bachelor troop of two. The other troop member, Kivu’s brother Goma, has moved to the Cheyenne Zoo in Colorado to join females there.

Kivu and Goma are gorilla royalty because they’re needed to maintain genetic diversity of the captive gorilla population as required by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Under the plan, AZA accredited zoos work to conserve species through strategic breeding.

“It’s our hope that Kivu will step in and lead the troop,” Blakely said. “In the wild silverbacks sire the young, guide the group to feeding and sleeping areas and protect them from threats. It’s our hope that Kivu will father baby gorillas to save this endangered species.”

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About the Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.  With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.  For more information, visit www.aza.org.