OKLAHOMA CITY — Cupid and the stork conspired and sent a special delivery to the Oklahoma City Zoo on Valentine's Day. The heir of beloved Western lowland gorilla, Bom Bom, who died in July 2012, from cardiac arrest, was born in the early hours of February 14, inside a Great EscApe day room.
After a nine-month pregnancy, the mother, Kelele, a 19-year-old Western lowland gorilla who has been with the troop since 2000, gave birth to her first baby, whose sex and name have not been determined.
"This is a significant birth for the population of zoo-environment gorillas," said Laura Bottaro, Zoo curator. "The baby looks strong and has begun to nurse, which is a sign of good health."
While living at the Zoo, Bom Bom also sired a son, George, in 2004, with mom Kathy, who still lives at the Zoo.
"It is heartening to know that the new infant has an older half-sibling here at the Zoo, and that Bom Bom's memory and legacy will continue for years to come," Bottaro said. Other troop members are Tatu, Muke, Bo and Bakari.
Another exciting addition to Great EscApe arrived around Christmas time. Togo, a 24-year-old male silverback, Western lowland gorilla, came from the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul. The move was recommended by the Gorilla SSP. Zoo keepers at the Como Zoo have been instrumental in helping with Togo's transition.
"This magnificent animal is a welcome addition to the Zoo's gorilla troop dynamic," Great EscApe Zoo supervisor Robin Newby said. "He is very laid back, gentle and interacts well with the females."
Guests may be able to see the Zoo's newest family members but public visibility will vary as all introductions are determined by the comfort levels of the animals.