On September 4, Frank, the crazy-cute gorilla at the San Diego Zoo, will be two years old. This is cause for celebration on many levels and not only because lowland gorillas are an endangered species. Frank’s mother, Azizi, a hand-raised, first-time mom, was not able to hold Frank correctly to nurse him, so keepers had to intervene. Rather than removing Frank from his troop to raise him in the nursery, the committed keepers devised a “rear assisting” program, which allowed Azizi (and his two aunts) to raise Frank while keepers helped out by feeding him and quickly returning him to his family. This strategy was wildly successful, as Frank is now a rotund, confident, 40-pound (18-kilogram) gorilla, adored by his family and fans. (Read Frank the Gorilla: First Year.)
Archive for the 'Apes and Monkeys' Category
Enrichment is a big part of what keepers do at most zoos these days. But did you know that it isn’t just the keepers who are involved in making enrichment opportunities for our animals?
Determining the type of enrichment that an animal will get is a very big process. Kym Nelson mentioned in a past blog post that enrichment needs to be approved, and that is very true (see New View of Enrichment). So how does it work?
First, the keeper comes up with an idea. That idea needs to fulfill various criteria: is this an item this species would use? Will it cause friction among the group if there is more than one animal? What behavior is the enrichment meant to encourage? Is it store-bought or will it need to be made? If so, what materials are involved?
We have been so excited to learn the results of all your votes (see post Name the Langur). It looks like the name Zoli is the winner by a landslide! It received 216 votes (the names Kayla and Kalani received 37 and 38 votes, respectively—a close call for second place.) We even got 71 comments on the San Diego Zoo’s Facebook page about the contest.
Little Zoli is doing great, and since the weather has been warmer, she is exploring the outdoor exhibit. All the silvered leaf langur babies are having a great time climbing to the very top of their exhibit, then just letting go, using the trees as a trampoline.
Memba is the only wild-born gorilla at the Zoo. He weighs about 350 pounds and takes his duties as guardian of the troop very seriously, always keeping tabs on each member’s whereabouts and breaking up any fights. It can be a stressful job: in the wild, silverbacks are lucky to live 30 years, but Memba is currently 41 years old and doing well! His troop includes females Alvila and Jessica, and sons Mandazzi and Ekuba.