BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – Kira, a western lowland gorilla, will soon be leaving Franklin Park Zoo's Tropical Forest to make her new home at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Zoo New England is an active participant in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Per the SSP recommendation, Kira is moving to Philadelphia where she will be paired with Jabari, a male western lowland gorilla to start a family.
"We feel that Kira is ready for this move and will adjust well to her new home." said Jeannine Jackle, Assistant Curator of Franklin Park Zoo's Tropical Forest. "On a personal level we are sad to see her go, but we know that this is important step for her and for the gorilla population. She has learned mothering skills by watching her own mother as well as by helping to care for her younger sisters. We believe she will be an excellent mother."
Kira, who was born in 1999, was the first gorilla ever born at Franklin Park Zoo, where her parents Kiki and Kitombe reside with her younger siblings, Kimani, 8, and Kambiri, 2, as well as with non-related gorillas Little Joe, Okpara and Gigi.
Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. They are found in the countries of Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Central African Republic and Nigeria. Threats to gorillas vary geographically and western gorillas are primarily threatened by disease and the bushmeat trade.