Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomes a Western lowland gorilla infant, a critically endangered species

Jun 1, 2024, 10:26 AM

Pele, a Western lowland gorilla, had her baby at Utah's Hogle Zoo Thursday night. (Courtesy: Utah's Hogle Zoo)

(Courtesy: Utah's Hogle Zoo)

SALT LAKE CITY — A male Western lowland gorilla was born at Utah’s Hogle Zoo at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night.

The zoo reports that gorilla mom, Pele, and her baby are doing well after the natural birth. Staff will continue to monitor the pair around the clock to ensure all is going well, and they are adjusting to their environment.

Zoo guests may be able to see the baby as soon as this weekend if the two continue in this positive direction, according to Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

The zoo reports that 22-year-old Pele came to Utah from Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Gorilla Species Survival Plan. Pele was paired with Husani, a 32-year-old silverback gorilla who is a resident at Utah’s Hogle zoo.

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered, as the zoo mentions this birth marks an important step in the conservation of Western lowland gorilla’s. The species is threatened by illegal poaching, habitat loss and mining.

This subspecies of gorilla’s numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 25 years, according to a release from the zoo. “Even if all threats to Western lowland gorillas were removed, scientists calculate that the population would require 75 years to recover.”

Utah’s Hogle Zoo collects old cell phones, iPods, iPads, tablets, and MP3 players and sends them to Eco-Cell— a company that repurposes and recycles electronics. All proceeds support conservation efforts such as the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center in the Congo, working to save the critically endangered Gauer’s gorilla.

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Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomes a Western lowland gorilla infant, a critically endangered species