Thursday, March 21, 2013

Willie B from Zoo Atlanta, Sire to Five Gorillas

Kudzoo, Kidogo, Sukari, Lulu and Olympia

are the five surviving children of the late and deeply loved Willie B of Zoo Atlanta.  Still living in Georgia's signature zoo,  Kudzoo is mother to  Mary B and Merry Leigh, while Sukari,  who lives there too,  and happens to be expecting,  is mother to Gunther.  These three gorilla children, and the one on the way, are cousins to North Carolina Zoo's Apollo, son of Olympia.   And now, Lulu, youngest daughter of Willie B, and thus sister to Olympia, has a baby too! This of course means yet another little cousin for our own young Apollo. The gender of the baby, unknown for now, will come to light as the keepers are able to get a better look. Zoo personnel do not interfere too much with the mother's natural instincts to look after and protect her newborn every minute of the day. Check out the photo of the capable new mom in this Atlanta Journal Constitution article. Lulu looks a great deal like Olympia if you ask me!

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Born August 31, of 2012, Apollo is just over six months old. You might think his young age explains why he is still riding on the back of his mother, but he is likely to keep up the riding for a few years yet. Lulu's baby surely already has the strength to hang on and ride; that crucial survival ability develops in the first few days of the life of a healthy gorilla baby.
Apollo Gorilla, safe on Olympia's back

As gorillas move through the forest, the little ones just climb right up on the mom, or when they are very small, the mom lifts and places the baby on her back.  Those infants know how to hang on to mother's fur with a vice-like grip. Gorilla troops can hike a pretty fair distance in a day, looking for the best available food sources. Riding mom is a convenient way to get around, not to mention a safe method!  Could there be a place more secure for a baby gorilla, than stuck on to his mother?