KNOXVILLE (press release)—The first endangered Western lowland gorilla born in Knoxville and in 30 years in Tennessee has been born in the Knoxville Zoo.
Mother Hope, who came to Knoxville in 2012 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orland, Fla., on the recommendation of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan, has a history of being a patient, attentive, and playful mother.
Both mother and baby appear to be doing very well and Knoxville Zoo staff is continuously monitoring them and the zoo’s gorilla group, which includes females Kowali and Machi and first-time father Bantu. As long as the baby and Hope continue to do well and there are no concerns about their interaction with the other members of the family group, zoo staff will not intervene and let Hope do what comes naturally to a gorilla mother.
Knoxville Zoo also has another pregnant female, Machi, who is expected to give birth in the next few weeks.
Knoxville Zoo’s gorilla habitat, Gorilla Valley, will be closed to public viewing for the immediate future to give mother and baby time to bond. Zoo staff will open the area as soon as Hope seems receptive to having visitors within the next few days.