Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kudzoo the Gorilla is Expecting!

The late Willie B. will have another grandchild in 2011

One of Atlanta’s best-loved animal families may welcome a brand-new addition to its third generation in 2011. Kudzoo, a 16-year-old western lowland gorilla, is expecting her second infant. The newborn will be the third surviving grandchild of the legendary late Willie B.

The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams estimate that Kudzoo is roughly two months into her pregnancy. Gorilla gestation averages 8.5 months, suggesting a birth in late spring 2011. The Veterinary Team is monitoring Kudzoo closely and is conducting monthly pregnancy tests, as she is known to have experienced at least one previous miscarriage. She became pregnant in late 2009 but miscarried the fetus before summer 2010.

“We are very excited about anticipating Kudzoo’s infant, particularly given the fact that generations of Atlantans have followed this family, all the way back to Willie B.,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “At the same time, we are keeping a close eye on Kudzoo, as the chance remains that she could experience another miscarriage.”

Born February 8, 2004, Kudzoo won hearts throughout the city as the celebrated firstborn of Willie B., who passed away in 2000. All four of her siblings – Olympia, 14; Sukari, 12; Willie B. Jr., 12; and Lulu, 11 – still reside at Zoo Atlanta, as does Kudzoo’s mother, Choomba. Kudzoo and her mate, 21-year-old silverback Taz, have one previous offspring, Macy Baby, 4.

Zoo Atlanta is home to the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas, with 23 individuals living in distinct social groups, and is a global center of excellence for the care and behavioral study of these critically endangered great apes. Since the opening of The Ford African Rain Forest in 1988, 18 gorillas have been born at the Zoo, 16 of whom still live on grounds. Four of the Zoo’s gorillas – Ozzie, 49; Choomba, 49; Ivan, 48; and Shamba, 51 – are beloved senior citizens, as gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of about 35. Individuals, schools and groups can support the stewardship of western lowland gorillas at Zoo Atlanta, as well as help support efforts for their counterparts in the wild, by sponsoring a gorilla through Rare Care. Visit zooatlanta.org for details and program benefits.
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