San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff, volunteers and guests gathered at the Park’s Gorilla Forest this week to celebrate western lowland gorilla Frank’s 10th birthday.
Along with his grandmother Kamilah (“Kami”) and other members of his troop, Frank enjoyed an exhibit filled with enrichment items that included cardboard animals, colorful browse, sweet potato cupcakes and a special ice cake made from flavored ice, decorated with yam paste, grapes, raisins, strawberries and greens.
Gorillas are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “red list” of threatened species. Threats to the species include people hunting gorillas for food, called bushmeat; loss of habitat due to logging and mining; and disease, such as Ebola. The past 15 years have seen a dramatic decline in gorilla numbers, with almost half of the entire eastern gorilla species population believed to have been wiped out.
San Diego Zoo Global has partnered with multiple organizations and local conservationists in Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon to shed light on gorilla genetic variations across regions and to promote community-led conservation initiatives.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park guests can visit Frank, his grandmother Kami and the rest of their troop in the Gorilla Forest habitat. Gorilla Forest is home to a troop of eight western lowland gorillas, including silverback male Winston; adult females Kami, Kokamo and Imani; young males Frank and Monroe; and young females Joanne, born in 2014, and Leslie, born in 2016.
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