According to the Atlanta Zoo’s website, Lulu, a 19-year-old western lowland gorilla had a pregnancy confirmed via ultrasound earlier this year, and the pregnancy was announced this March. This will be Lulu’s third baby and the offspring of both Lulu and 29-year-old silverback, Taz. The baby gorilla will be born this summer. The reason for this announcement is that this baby gorilla comes at a vital time for the gorilla population.
Any birth for these gorilla populations is a major victory for the animal world because EVERY birth is critical. The gorilla populations is now considered critically endangered.
A critically endangered species (CR) is considered at HIGH RISK for extinction.
As evident by this chart, these gorillas are considered only one step away from becoming extinct, so yes, this summer, just an hour away, you will be able to see a very important baby gorilla.
Why are these gorillas endangered?
According to Animal Fact Guide and The Atlanta Zoo’s websites, the primary reasons these gorillas are now considered critically endangered is due to human activities, such as poaching (for illegal bush meat trade), war, diseases spreading, and habitat destruction. Even now, the mountain gorilla’s natural habitat is limited only to protected national parks in only two regions of Africa. The rest are in protection, such as zoos and refuge habitats.
From their website, Zoo Atlanta states:
“We’re thrilled about welcoming another new member to the continuing legacy of the gorilla program at Zoo Atlanta,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Deputy Director. “Gorillas are an area of longtime leadership for our organization. That leadership is more vital than ever before if we are to maintain the health and viability of the zoological population while using our knowledge, resources and roles as educators to preserve gorillas in the wild.”
Zoo Atlanta gorilla program has evolved into a nationally recognized center of excellence in the care and study of gorillas.
Ms. Teasley, newspaper club sponsor, noted that one of her psychology professors did his ongoing psychological research on the gorillas at the Atlanta Zoo, and he mentioned that their gorilla program is one of the best. Their research team’s work has led to the improvements and education in gorilla programs around the world. Their gorilla population is one of the largest in North America. They are also home to two of the oldest gorillas in the entire world, Choomba, 56, and Ozzie, 58. Ozzie is the oldest male gorilla in the world.
According to the website, if you’re interested in keeping up with LuLu’s pregnancy, you can follow the news at Zoo Atlanta’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates as Lulu’s pregnancy progresses.